Sharpe, Paley and Austin - History and Works - Paley and Austin - Ecclesiastical Works

Ecclesiastical Works

Two early large churches in industrial areas in Lancashire were built in 1869–71: St Chad, Kirkby, and St John the Evangelist, Cheetham. Pollard describes St Chad as one of the partnership's "most powerful churches", Brandwood et al. consider that St John the Evangelist is the practice's "most important church in Manchester. These were followed by the rebuilding, other than the tower, of St Mary, Leigh (1871–73), in which the Perpendicular style, generally unfashionable at the time, was used throughout. Similarly the body of All Saints' Church, Daresbury (1870–72) was rebuilt in Perpendicular style. Meanwhile the practice was designing new churches or rebuilding old churches for villages in the countryside. Some of these were small, others larger and more impressive, such as St Peter, Finsthwaite (1873–74) and St Peter, Scorton (1878–79). In 1872–73 the partners built their only new church in Wales, St Mary, Betws-y-Coed. This was followed by an estate church, St John the Evangelist (1882–84) at Walton, south of Warrington, and by the rebuilding of the old parish church of St Mary (1884–85) at Dalton-in-Furness.

They also designed about 23 urban churches of varying sizes and styles. Most were in the industrial towns of Lancashire, except for St John the Evangelist, Greenock (1877–78) in Scotland, a mission chapel in Scarborough, North Yorkshire (1885), and St Barnabas (1884–85) in the railway town of Crewe, Cheshire. Notable among the Lancashire urban churches are St Matthew and St James, Mossley Hill, Liverpool (1870–75), described by Pollard as "one of the best Victorian churches in Liverpool, St Michael and All Angels, Howe Bridge, Atherton (1875–77), considered by Pollard to be one of Paley and Austin's "most stimulating churches", and St John the Baptist, also in Atherton (1878–79), of which Pollard says "The whole is monumental, one of Paley and Austin's best", with a tower that is "magnificently mighty". In Astley Bridge, Bolton, they built two churches, which are described by Hartwell et al. as being "remarkable"; these were All Souls (1878–81), which is now redundant, and St Saviour (1882–85), which was demolished in 1975. St James, Daisy Hill, Westhoughton (1879–81) is considered by Hartwell et al. as "a masterly performance for relatively little cash", and St Peter, Westleigh Leigh (1879–81) is described by Pollard as one of Paley and Austin's "most radical and thrilling churches". Meanwhile in rapidly growing Barrow, they had built four smaller churches to a common design, each dedicated to one of the Four Evangelists. In 1884 the partnership submitted plans for a new Anglican cathedral in Liverpool. Their plan was placed in the top twelve, but failed to make the next round of the competition. In the event the project was abandoned in 1888, the cathedral being built later and on a different site.

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