Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Derek Walker Modernist church may be sold off

  • Comment
The future of the last surviving Modernist church designed by Milton Keynes masterplanner Derek Walker, is hanging in the balance, the AJ has learned.
The Holy Family Church in Chequerfield, West Yorkshire (pictured), is at the centre of a showdown between the Catholic Church and its congregation after the Bishop of Leeds announced that he intends to sell the 1964 building.

The move has prompted furious locals to start a campaign, backed by Walker and Labour peer Lord Lofthouse, to keep the church open. English Heritage has now been brought in to assess the building for listing.

Walker said: ‘The church is in the middle of a very close-knit community and remains a focal point for them. It is very disappointing that it will close.
I have written to the Bishop of Leeds asking him to reconsider, but had no response.’

Speaking for the Church, Reverend Monsignor Michael McQuinn blamed the closure on the ‘decline in the number of priests’ and said the diocese intends to sell the building.

Campaigners are now claiming the interior is already being picked apart, with the pews on their way to a church in nearby Skipton.

According to Paul Walker, an architectural historian and expert on post-war churches, the Holy Family is ‘a very strong statement architecturally’.

He adds: ‘Its layout challenged traditional notions of how a church was thought of. It should certainly be listed.’

The Holy Family church is the last of a trio designed by Walker, which included St Benedict’s in Garforth (now demolished) and Sacred Heart in Hyde Park Road, Leeds, which is now a mosque.

The design was in keeping with the modernising Second Vatican Council movement. It featured a free-standing Portland Stone altar, intended to bring the priest closer to the people, and ceramics by artist Robert Brumby.
  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs

AJ Jobs