Building Name

St. Oswald, Rochdale Road, Collyhurst

1854 - 1855
Rochdale Road
Colyhurst, Manchester
GMCA, England
New build
Closed 1969

NEW CHURCH AT COLLYHURST. - The church stands advantageous site near the junction of the Collyhurst and Harpurhey roads, close to the line of the latter, and may be very easily reached by those who reside in that densely populated part of the suburbs of the city, which extends from the older part of St. George's Road to the gates of the Queen's Park, on both sides the highway. It has been constructed from the designs of Mr E. H. Shellard, architect, of King Street, based upon the best examples of the early decorated period of ecclesiastical architecture. It is in the form of a Roman cross, comprising a nave 116 feet 3 inches long (inside measurement), and 27 feet 6 inches wide, intersected immediately in front of the chancel by north and south transepts, with galleries, each transept being 72 feet 9 inches by 26 feet 4 inches. The dimensions of the chancel are 26 feet by 20 feet, and 34 feet height; the floor is raised 18 inches above that of the nave. The roof of the nave is 43 feet high from the apex to the floor, and the pitch about 50 deg. The building is not exactly orthodox in respect to its aspects; the site seems to have obliged the architect to dispose it some 40 deg. out of the direction of due east and west; but on what is designated the north side, adjoining the chancel, there is the nucleus of tower and spire, forming a principal entrance to the body and to the north transept gallery. This tower is 12 feet square, inside measurement, and has been run up to 18 feet 10 inches high, and then covered in, to remain unfinished until the trustees or the building committee find themselves in funds to complete the work, ft is to be 70 feet high from the ground to the finials decorating the top course, and above it is to be spire 70 feet higher, giving a total height of one hundred and forty feet. When finished—and surely Churchmen will not permit a handsome church to be so much disfigured, and to remain so incomplete, as it must be until the tower and spire are appended—the building will form a pleasant and agreeable object in the landscape, attracting attention at great distance. Nearly at the bottom of the north side is a second entrance, and at the point where the centre passage down the nave crosses from this north door, stands a pretty early English baptismal font. On the south side of the chancel is the vestry, 12 feet by 10 feet 6 inches, and a small doorway adjacent admits into the south transept and its gallery. An arch has been formed on the north side of the chancel, 16 feet high, 10 feet 9 inches wide, and 4 feet 6 inches deep, the architect intending to lay a permanent floor from it over the interior area of the tower for the reception of an organ, and to arrange for the reception of a small choir in front of the instrument, their seats facing the vestry door. We do not expect to find this arrangement satisfactory, though awkward expedients sometimes succeed. The roof of the open-timbered description, supported on stone corbels, comprising principals, collar beams, circular ribs, beams, and struts. There are seven principals in the nave, with spars filling in the spaces between the principals. The material of the roof, and indeed the whole of the uncovered woodwork, is red Memel deal, stained and varnished. The seats are all open, with plain standards at the front, and they are so arranged that accommodation has been provided within the nave and transepts with their galleries for 1,078 persons, 415 of the sittings being free for such of the inhabitants as are unable to share the cost of a seat. A gallery at the end of the nave, just under the west window, will hold 207 children, and the transept galleries will hold 160 each. They are strongly built, and supported upon uprights and beams, so as to be perfectly safe. The reading desk and pulpit will be respectively placed on the north and south side of the chancel arch, and are to be formed of red deal, stained and varnished. The building is well lighted, and has both a comfortable and cheerful appearance. Externally the building is composed of parpoints with dressings of Yorkshire stone, from the Slaithwaite quarries, near Huddersfield; the stone for the internal work has been procured from the quarries of Sir Oswald Mosley, situate a short distance from the church. The whole building has been most substantially put up, and when completed we see reason for believing that it will be one of the cheapest as well as the best sacred edifices among those which this church-building age has produced. The site was presented by Sir Oswald Mosley, Bart., The building committee entered into a contract with a firm in Manchester to erect the structure for £2,395; but there was some default made the contract, and the works were re-let to Messrs. Eaton and Hollis for masonry, the price of £1,295, and to Messrs. Burton and Son for the wood-work, at the price of £1,450, an increase of £350. The total cost of the church is estimated at £4,764.

For many years the district of St. Michael was not only one of the most populous in Manchester, containing at the last census not fewer than 22,000 souls, but it was also one of the poorest in respect to the pecuniary ability which the inhabitants possessed to provide for their spiritual necessities, scared a single affluent person residing within its limits; it was also one of the most destitute in regard to church accommodation. St. Michael's Church is only calculated seat 1000 persons and little space in it is appropriated to the exclusive and free use of the poor. The increase of buildings in Collyhurst the upper quarters of Rochdale-road, located there a large number of persons, for whom there was no church readily accessible. [Manchester Courier 17 June 1854 page 10]

Reference    Manchester Courier 17 June 1854 page 10]
Reference    Manchester Courier 14 April 1855 page 7
Reference    Manchester Guardian 11 April 1855 Page 5 Column 3 No architect given
Reference    Manchester City News, 31 January 1891
Reference    Kelly. 1855  

1868 : Steeple added. Architect John Lowe