History in Structure

Roman Catholic Church of St Anne

A Grade II Listed Building in Nechells, Birmingham

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Latitude: 52.4724 / 52°28'20"N

Longitude: -1.8843 / 1°53'3"W

OS Eastings: 407952

OS Northings: 286060

OS Grid: SP079860

Mapcode National: GBR 63C.VL

Mapcode Global: VH9Z3.935Z

Plus Code: 9C4WF4C8+X7

Entry Name: Roman Catholic Church of St Anne

Listing Date: 22 March 2021

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1473053

ID on this website: 101473053

Location: Deritend, Birmingham, West Midlands, B12

County: Birmingham

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Birmingham

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Midlands

Tagged with: Gothic Revival Catholic church building


A Roman Catholic church of 1883 - 1884 by Albert Vicars.


A Roman Catholic church of 1883 - 1884 by Albert Vicars.

MATERIALS: constructed of red brick with blue brick detailing, limestone dressings and slate roof.

PLAN: oriented north-west to south-east with spire at the south-east corner, the church has a single aisle to the north and south of the nave.

EXTERIOR: the church is constructed in the Early English Gothic Revival style with lancet windows at ground and clerestory level, shallow buttresses and some polychrome brick detailing. Fronting Alcester Street, the church has a large gable with pinnacle to the north and a central gothic geometric window with stained glass and quatrefoil tracery, with brick spire to the left (south). Beneath the tracery window is a pair of entrance doors under a shallow entrance porch with limestone moulded double gable and piers with foliate capitals. Above the two doors are lancet arches with circular relief carvings each with a cross and trefoil detailing. The tower is substantial and is square on plan with lancet windows at ground and clerestory level. At its top the spire is octagonal and has buttresses and lucarnes with cusped trefoil heads and brick detailing.

The southern elevation, to the left of the tower has a series of paired lancet windows with limestone hood moulds with cusped trefoil heads, both at ground floor on the southern aisle of the church and at clerestory level above. Both the single-storey aisle and the nave above has a dentilled cornices and blue brick detailing around the lancets. Two tall, double-height lancet windows light the sanctuary to the left of the projecting aisle. The northern elevation is similar, but at the eastern end has a small late-C20 entrance porch. At the western end is the attached sacristy which is a projecting range from the north-west corner with flat-arched mullioned sash windows and central brick stack. The western elevation features a large rose window with cusped tracery, with further circular window to the right (south) at the location of the southern side chapel. To the north are two chamfered limestone mullioned windows at ground floor and door with one additional window at first floor under an arch. The first storey of the left hand bay of this façade has a late-C20 window under a flat arch of rubbed brick and appears to have been partially rebuilt, possibly when the adjoining presbytery was constructed in the 1950s.

INTERIOR: the lofty nave has a barrel-vaulted ceiling and is flanked to either side by aisles with an arcade of circular piers with gothic arches linked by gilded bosses. Above, the paired clerestory windows are leaded with stained glass within the trefoils, between which, pilasters on angel corbels support the arched roof trusses. The nave and aisles retain their C19 pews. At the eastern end of the building, the former baptistery is located to the north of the gallery, with C19 railings. The gallery houses the organ above, beneath the eastern window, with the eastern entrance doors below enclosed by half-glazed timber doors. To the right (south) of the gallery is a chapel with cast iron half-height rail.

The northern aisle houses the two timber confessionals, each containing four separate booths behind timber doors with cusped detailing and trefoil heads.

The sanctuary is accessed by a set of five steps at the western end of the church and has predominately late-C20 fittings though a section of the C19 stone pulpit to the left of the altar survives and now forms the ambo. The reredos beneath the rose window has blind gothic arcading and is a fragment of the C19 scheme. Above, the panels of the vaulted ceiling are painted with a stencilled scheme. To the left (south) of the sanctuary, separated by a section of the former communion rail, is a side chapel dedicated to the Sacred Heart, with C19 gothic altar and altar table though the statuary within the niches have been changed. The original hexagonal stone font is located within this chapel and reads on its northern face: IN/ MEMORY/ OF/ UMIGLIANO/ AND/ MADELEINE/ PANICALI.

To the north of the sanctuary is the Lady Chapel which again features the original C19 gothic altar and altar table, again with replacement statuary. Both the north and south side chapels have circular windows with stained glass. At the western end of the northern aisle an arched door leads to the sacristy which has a mullioned window on its northern wall. To the north of the sacristy is a room currently in use as a kitchen, with timber four-pane sash window. To the south of the sacristy is a porch with timber plank door with chamfered cusped detail.


Cardinal John Henry Newman founded a chapel within an old distillery on Alcester Street in Deritend in 1849, with the congregation mainly comprising Irish immigrants who had fled the Great Famine. The congregation under Cardinal Newman relocated to Edgbaston in 1852. An adjacent plot of land, on the corner of Alcester Street and Bradford Street, was subsequently acquired by the Rev John Dowling, who became mission rector in 1859. A new church was designed for the plot by Albert Vicars of Vicars and O’Neill, London, constructed by Barker and Son of Handsworth between 1883-4, with the former distillery becoming a school (now demolished).

In the mid-C20, as part of the liturgical reforms under the Second Vatican Council (1962-5), alterations were made to the church. This initially saw the removal of the gothic high altar within the sanctuary, and the screens between the sanctuary and the side chapels. In the late C20 further alterations took place with the removal of the stone pulpit, though a fragment now remains in a slightly set back position. The communion rails were also removed at this time with an exception surviving between the sanctuary and the southern side chapel. During this period, a first-floor gallery at the eastern end of the church was enclosed at ground-floor level to create a new narthex area, screened from the church by timber half-glazed doors; the organ was also relocated from the northern side chapel to sit above the eastern gallery. Some timber detailing at the top of the confessionals on the northern aisle of the church was also removed during this period of reordering.

The church had been associated with a presbytery located to the north at corner of Alcester Street and Bradford Street. A replacement presbytery (not part of the List entry) was constructed in the 1950s adjoining the church at its north-western corner. The original presbytery was demolished in the late C20 with the land instead used for car parking.

A series of further renovations were undertaken around the year 2000, with a new decorative stencilled paint scheme applied to the sanctuary and side chapels. The nave piers were also painted at this time and a new entrance porch erected on the north elevation of the church.

Reasons for Listing

The Roman Catholic Church of St Anne, Deritend, of 1884 - 1884 by Albert Vicars, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:
* The church is a striking example of a late-C19 early English revival Catholic Church designed by renowned architect Albert Vicars of Vicars and O’Neill;
* The church is confident in its design and has good attention to detail including attractive limestone dressings and brick polychromy to provide interest to the exterior;
* Despite some alteration to the interior, particularly in response to the Second Vatican Council (1962-5), the church retains many of its late-C19 fittings including confessional booths, reredos and side chapels.

Historic interest:
* As a late-C19 Roman Catholic church constructed predominately for a poor Irish immigrant congregation who had fled the Great Famine, replacing an earlier mission church founded by Cardinal John Henry Newman.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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