St Paul's Church, Wordsworth Avenue

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St Paul's Church, Wordsworth Avenue
St Paul's Church, Wordsworth Avenue
Denomination Church of England
Churchmanship Broad Church
History
Dedication St. Paul
Administration
Parish Sheffield
Diocese Sheffield
Province York

St Paul’s Church is situated within the English city of Sheffield on Wordsworth Avenue in the northern suburb of Parson Cross. St Paul’s is a modern looking post war church which has been designated as a Grade II listed building.[1]

History[edit]

St Paul’s was opened in 1959 to serve the New Parson Cross estate which had been constructed on previous greenfield land in the late 1940s as the City of Sheffield cleared its slum housing and expanded into the countryside. The church was designed by the Scottish architect Basil Spence who was forced to work with a limited budget. Spence was working on his most famous design Coventry Cathedral at the same time that he was overseeing the construction of St Paul’s.[2]

When St Paul’s was opened in 1959 it did not have its own parish and was purely a daughter church to St. Mary‘s, Ecclesfield. However the area around St Paul’s was declared a Conventional District within the Ecclesfield parish and in 1973 the separate parish of St Paul, Wordsworth Avenue was created. The new housing estate never had an official name, so the parish is one of the few which is identified by its street address rather than by its district. The parish was badly hit by the collapse of the Sheffield steel industry in the 1980s and a high level of unemployment was created and today “New Parson Cross is part of one of the most deprived areas of the city”.[3][4]

Architecture[edit]

Spence’s design for St Paul’s is quite simple although this is not obvious at first glance. The church is basically two brick walls joined by a shallow barrel vault roof strengthened by diagonal steel bracing. The ends of the church consist almost entirely of glass with Spence integrating some the ideas he had used at St Oswald’s, Tile Hill in 1957. To the front of the church is a 15 metre high campanile consisting of just two brick walls with concrete ties in between. There is a six metre cross on top of the campanile. The church hall stands just to the north within the church grounds. The interior has a balcony reached by steps on which the organ stands. While the altar is screened to give it some privacy from the big end window by a hardwood panel made from African Teak . Spence’s personal gift for the church were the altar ornaments which are made from hammered iron.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sheffield City Council website. A list of all listed buildings in Sheffield.
  2. ^ "A History of Sheffield", David Hey, ISBN 1-85936-110-2, Page 277 Gives some information on post war housing development in Sheffield.
  3. ^ Sheffield City Council. Gives this quote.
  4. ^ A Church Near You. Gives history of church and parish.
  5. ^ "Pevsner Architectural Guides - Sheffield", Ruth Harman & John Minnis, ISBN 0-300-10585-1, Page 37 Gives details of architecture.

Coordinates: 53°26′00″N 1°28′09″W / 53.4332°N 1.4693°W / 53.4332; -1.4693