St Mary's Convent, Handsworth

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St Mary's Convent
Entrance St Mary's Convent, Handsworth.JPG
St Mary's Convent entrance
St Mary's Convent, Handsworth is located in West Midlands county
St Mary's Convent, Handsworth
Location within West Midlands county
Monastery information
Full name St Mary's Convent, Sisters of Mercy, Handsworth
Order Sisters of Mercy
Established 1840 (1840)
Dedicated to Blessed Virgin Mary
Diocese Birmingham
Important associated figures John Hardman
Heritage designation Grade II* listed
Architect Augustus Pugin
Location Lozells, Birmingham, England
Coordinates 52°29′53″N 1°54′54″W / 52.4980°N 1.9150°W / 52.4980; -1.9150Coordinates: 52°29′53″N 1°54′54″W / 52.4980°N 1.9150°W / 52.4980; -1.9150
Grid reference SP0586488903
Public access Yes

St Mary's Convent is a house for the community of the local Sisters of Mercy in Birmingham. Although it is situated between the Lozells and Hockley parts of the city, the community also serves the parish in Handsworth. It was founded in 1840 and was designed by Augustus Pugin. On 25 April 1952 it was designated as a Grade II* listed building by English Heritage.[1]



In 1840, the Sisters of Mercy came to Birmingham at the invitation of Nicholas Wiseman. At the time he was coadjutor bishop of Thomas Walsh, the Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District.

They set up a convent with the help of many interested parties. John Hardman of Hardman & Co. who lived opposite donated the land for them. The cost of building the convent was met by Hardman and the Earl of Shrewsbury who donated £2000. They then commissioned Augustus Pugin to design the building for them.

The chapel of the convent, dedicated to Saint Mary served as the parish church until 1847.[1][2]

St Mary's Church[edit]

In 1845, with the local Catholic population increasing, the convent chapel was no longer large enough to accommodate the congregation. So they decided to build a larger church next to the convent.[3]

In July 1847, St Mary's Church was opened and consecrated by Bishop William Wareing. After St Francis of Assisi Church was built opposite the convent in 1894, St Mary's Church became the convent chapel.[2]

However, St Mary's Church was destroyed during World War Two and not rebuilt. The site of the church is now occupied by St Francis Catholic Primary School. The school has a close relationship with the convent next door who have a representative on the school's board of governors.[4]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b British Listed Buildings retrieved 13 April 2013
  2. ^ a b Slevin, Malachy St Francis Church Handsworth (Birmingham, 1994), pp.1-17
  3. ^ Lozells from William Dargue - A History of Birmingham retrieved 13 April 2013
  4. ^ Governors from St Francis Catholic School, retrieved 14 April 2013

External links[edit]