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Roman Catholic Church of St Augustine

A Grade II Listed Building in Hulme, Manchester

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Latitude: 53.4699 / 53°28'11"N

Longitude: -2.2397 / 2°14'22"W

OS Eastings: 384188

OS Northings: 397049

OS Grid: SJ841970

Mapcode National: GBR DKM.Q3

Mapcode Global: WHB9N.K1QP

Entry Name: Roman Catholic Church of St Augustine

Listing Date: 16 November 2007

Last Amended: 12 February 2009

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1392331

English Heritage Legacy ID: 494965

Location: Manchester, M15

County: Manchester

Electoral Ward/Division: Hulme

Built-Up Area: Manchester

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester

Church of England Parish: Hulme The Ascension

Church of England Diocese: Manchester

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Listing Text



(Formerly listed as:


Roman Catholic Church 1967-8, by Desmond Williams & Associates. Load-bearing dark brown brick construction with felt roofs supported on Vierendeel girders, with rear range in brick and timber cladding.

EXTERIOR: Body of church virtually square, with corridor at rear right leading to cross wing containing offices and accommodation. Windowless façade with floating service projection to the left and four full height brick fins to the right of wide recessed central entrance reached by low flight of steps. On the projection a ceramic plaque with star and mitre and on the inner face of the left hand fin a figure of the Madonna, both by Robert Brumby. Set back returns of 6 bays, divided by pairs of projecting slim brick piers. Openings between the pairs of piers filled with coloured chipped French glass. Secondary entrance beneath large cantilevered canopy in first bay of left hand return. Slender linking block containing sacristy. The rear presbytery range, containing first floor hall, meeting rooms, kitchen, chaplaincy offices and accommodation for four priests (only one in residence) is of lesser interest. Bell tower rising from parish rooms block.

INTERIOR: Orientation reversed in simple box plan with ceiling of steel trusses clad with timber and clerestory north lights. Sanctuary of three stepped platforms with white marble altar set forward. Large ceramic reredos sculpture of Christ in Majesty by Robert Brumby of York. Bays containing either projecting confessionals or chapel recesses are divided by pairs of projecting slim brick piers. Deeply recessed within the full height narrow slot in each pair are windows of coloured glass chips in free abstract designs by the Whitefriars Studio, with tones ranging from blue at the West end through yellow, to red at the East end. Fixed seating in angular U-shape surrounding Sanctuary. Side chapel to left. Narthex. West gallery above originally with seating, now housing organ. Unified scheme of decoration by Brumby including the external plaque and statue, holy water stoups, wall light brackets, circular font with ceramic inset and aluminium lid, altar table with bronze inset and, probably, Stations of the Cross sculptures. Also by Brumby, a memorial plaque fashioned from mangled plate, damaged in the Blitz, commemorating the earlier parish church which this replaced. Interiors of the ancillary rooms are not of special interest.

HISTORY: The original St Augustine's was one of the oldest Roman Catholic churches in Manchester, having been established at Granby Row in 1820. This church was sold in 1905 to make way for the Manchester Municipal Technical College, and a new church built on York Street. This church was destroyed in the Manchester Blitz of 1940.
The present site previously housed a chapel of ease in a building bought from the Methodists in the 1870s. It had briefly been a separate parish, but in 1908 was amalgamated with St Augustine's parish. After the War it was the only surviving church in the parish. The new St Augustine's was built here with the help of a grant from the War Damage Commission, at a cost of £138,000, when it was clear that the original building was inadequate. The new building was opened in 1968 and consecrated in 1970.
Robert Brumby, born 1934, also created a sculpture for the Lady Chapel at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool.

SOURCES: Dawson, Rev. Christopher P.P. unpub. notes
Hartwell, Clare Pevsner Architectural Guides - Manchester, 2001, pp310-311
Sharp,Dennis,ed., Studio Vista 'Manchester', 1969, p52.
Unknown Architecture North West, No 33, 1969, pp 18-20

The Roman Catholic Church of St Augustine was built in 1967-8, using money from the War Damage Commission to help fund both the building and its artistic scheme. It meets the criteria for listing by virtue of its strong modern design by Desmond Williams, imaginative use of the constricted site, innovative internal arrangements in keeping with the recommendations of the Second Vatican Council of 1962-5, and outstanding artwork by Robert Brumby. The special interest of the church is not sustained throughout the ancillary buildings which are attached, and, while forming part of the overall ensemble, possess a much lesser degree of special interest.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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