Saved - threatened 1963 Modernist church listed
A ‘strikingly modern’ 1963 church in Stalybridge by Massey & Massey of Warrington has been given a Grade II listing
St.Raphael the Archangel in Millbrook, which was threatened with demolition, was given statutory protection following an application by the Manchester Modernist Society.
The church in Greater Manchester was closed by the Diocese of Shrewsbury in summer due to maintenance costs and the council had subsequently received notification of intention to demolish.
According to the society, the layout of the church is historic because after the Second Vatican Council in 1962 it became the norm for the priest to face the congregation and the St Raphael’s features this plan with a ‘centralised’ altar.
Jack Hale of the Manchester Modernist Society said: ‘When we heard that the church had closed we just had to act in order to try to save it from further decay, vandalism or even worse –we were shocked to discover after the listing was approved that the council had received notification of intention to demolish – thankfully this has now been prevented and this remarkable building has been saved.’
The building in Huddersfield Road features dalle de verre stained glass by Pierre Fourmaintraux of Powells, bespoke ceramic Stations of the Cross and water stoops by Alan Boyson and a central pendant light fitting by McGloughlin of Dublin.
English Heritage’s listing conclusions (see full report attached)
The Church of St. Raphael the Archangel is an innovative church making free use of Byzantine motifs in a Modernist idiom and responding to liturgical developments in the Roman Catholic Church. The high quality of its stained glass and other fittings adds to its interest. It merits designation in the national context.