Architecture: the church building

In 1884 the Rev P F Elkins of St Barnabas Cathedral was given charge of a new mission in Long Eaton. A site was acquired in Sawley Road (now Tamworth Road) and a prefabricated church made of corrugated iron was put up at a cost of £130 (equivalent to about £15,000 in today's money). It had seats for 76 worshippers.

A presbytery was built in 1923, and on 13 June 1929 the foundation stone was laid for the present church, which was completed in the spring of 1930. The builders were Atkin and Barton of Shepshed. The Long Eaton Advertiser described the new church as ‘a new sanctuary of simple but tasteful design, approximately 90 ft by 32 ft in area, with room for 350-500 worshippers, with interior woodwork of Columbian pine’. The papal arms over the altar and two stained glass windows (St Winefride and St Patrick) in the sanctuary were given by Mrs Winifrid E. Cobb, and a baldacchino over the high altar was built by two unemployed parishioners. The cost of the new church was approximately £2500.

In 1973-4 a narthex addition was built at the west end of the church. At the same time alterations were made to the presbytery and sacristies, and a parish hall built at the rear. The architects for this work were Reynolds & Scott.

In 1995 a major reordering of the interior was carried out under the direction of Tim Gough of Austin Winkley Associates (contractors Baggeley and Jenkins of Mansfield).

The church interior consists of an aisleless nave with a narrower chancel separated by a pointed chancel arch with narrower arched openings on either side. The internal walls are plastered and painted, with an arch braced roof of Columbian pine. Apart from the old font, now used as a holy water stoup in the narthex area, the furnishings date almost entirely from Austin Winkley Associates’ reordering of 1995. This was a collaborative exercise, involving several artists of note. Features include:

  • Altar, altar steps and paved sanctuary floor of Derbyshire Dark Warmsworth and Course Guiseley Stone, designed by the architect

  • Hanging cross with figures of St Mary and St John, by David John

  • A large painted canopy hovering over the sanctuary by Marianne Hellwig John

  • Celebrant’s chair, ambo and backdrop screen in beech, by David John

  • Font of similar materials placed in front of the altar with a sunken pool lined with patterned mosaics by Tessa Hunkin, of the Mosaic Workshop, London

  • Bronze tabernacle in north (Blessed Sacrament) chapel, by David John

  • Abstract stained glass window in the Blessed Sacrament chapel, by local artist Frances O’Brien

The stained glass figures of St Winefride and St Patrick in the lancets at the west end date from c1930 and were moved here from the sanctuary in 1995.

The seating in the church consists of moveable chairs rather than benches. There are presently seats for 168 people, currently sufficient for most Masses and services throughout the year.

For further information about David and Marianne Hellwig John follow this link

You can also read about the church building and the additions and improvements made since 1930 by visiting this page on the Taking Stock website.