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#355251 - 7th Oct 2009 2:02pm History Of Wallasey Churches

This is an on-going subject that I am currently working on for my site and will be posted in parts over the coming months.

Moreton & Leasowe

Christ Church

Christ Church on Upton Road, Moreton, was built in 1863 and replaced an earlier religious building called ‘Chapel of Rest’ which had been pulled down in 1690. The local landowner, Thomas Webster of Overchurch Hill, Upton, gave the land for the building of a new Anglican church and William Inman of Upton Manor, whose Inman Shipping Line transported passengers and emigrants to America, donated £8,000 to cover the costs of the building of the church, the vicarage as well as the school which opened later on Hoylake Road in 1861. The design of the church, which has a tower about 100 feet tall, was designed by Messrs Cunningham and Audsley. The first minister of Christ Church was Revd. Matthew Fearsley M.A who served the Parish for 34 years. The old rectory, which once stood to the rear of the church near where Chadwick Street is now, was demolished in 1922 because it became uninhabitable due to damp.

The Sacred Heart Church

Before the opening of the church Catholics had to travel to the nearest church of St. Joseph’s, Upton, for mass, but from 1921 to 1923 Provost Barry began mass each Sunday in an old café by Moreton shore known as 'City Caterer's Cafe'. It was first and foremost a café but during the week, part of it was used as a school. Finally a new church was erected in Upton Road in 1923 on a former field at the bottom where Marion Drive is today. The church cost £1,200, which was raised through public subscription, and it was designed by Bishop Singleton who was the Bishop of Shrewsbury. The first minister was the Revd. W. Griffin who served from 1923 to 1930. He was held in high regards and Griffin Road was named after him.

When Father Peter Gerard took over he realised there was a growing need for a school and organised fund raising events such as "Donkey Derby' with leading jockey's of the day including Gordon Richards. This was proved to be successful that the 'Sacred Heart School' was built in 1934 at a cost of £10,000 and was opened by Bishop Moriarty.

In 1955 the church was demolished and a new rustic brick design with a tower was built on the former site of Smith's Farm. The foundation stone was laid on 25th June 1955. The Church then re-opened on 26th June 1957 and cost £42,000. The Right Revd. John A. Murphy presided at the opening together with the Bishop of Shrewsbury.

Moreton Presbyterian Church

The Presbyterian Church is the second oldest church in Moreton, the first being the Parish Church in Upton Road. It began in 1905 when the first service was held in the upper room of the Assembly Rooms which stood at the rear of the old Plough Inn. The service was held by the Revd. J. Calvin Thomas who was assisted by Lay preachers. It became quite popular and it was decided to build a chapel, so a fund was started. After enough money was raised the land was purchased on the corner of Knutsford Road and Hoylake Road. The foundation stone was laid on 7th February, 1906. The chapel was completed at a cost of £800 and opened on 15th June, 1906 by Mr W.H Lever, later Lord Leverhulme. The first minister of the new church was the Revd. R. Lewis Powell from 1907 to 1936.

After the Second World War the population of Moreton grew rapidly, and the church membership grew rapidly also. The chapel became too small, so it was decided to raise funds for a new chapel. As their was still plenty of room on the land that was purchased in 1906 it was decided to build the new chapel on the same site. The foundation stone was laid on 6th February, 1926 and the Chapel opened later that year, the total cost being £3,007. In 1937 the Chapel was extended and a new memorial window was unveiled which was dedicated to the late Revd. R. Lewis Powell. The extension cost £2,040 and the original chapel was used as the Church Hall.

Moreton Methodist Church

Methodism did not begin in Moreton until 1948. The first service was held on 4th July 1948 and was heard at the 'Church among the trees' and was known as Hillcrest Mission. The site was situated on a plot of land that was at the back of Burrell Drive and at the end of Childwall Avenue. Regular morning meetings were held from July 1952 and on 26th July 1953 services were held in the newly-built hall in Pasture Road. The Methodist Church was opened on 18th September 1954 . These buildings were called the Poulton Road Memorial Church and cost £45,000 to build - most of the money coming from the War Damage Compensation Seacombe as the original Methodist Church was situated on Poulton Road but was destroyed by an air-raid in the Second World War and demolished in 1944.

Moreton Baptist Church

In 1926 Mr W. Holdsworth, Mr J.E Hendley and Mr W.P Williams started the Baptist Church initially with a meeting of other like minded people at the Presbyterian Church in Moreton as it was the only Free church in the area. The group, which also included their respected families, began to slowly grow in size and it was agreed to establish a Baptist Church in Moreton. A site was purchased on the corner of Doreen Avenue and Hoylake Road and was purchased for £600 on the 27th May 1927 and the site dedicated on Saturday, 1st October, 1927 at an open air service. Temporary headquarters were needed and found at the Victory Hall (now the British Legion) in Pasture Road. After the Hall was deemed unsafe in November 1928 the Baptists moved to Upton Road but it was proved inadequate so it was decided by the congregation that it was time to build a church of their own. After acquiring a mortgage of £450 the new church was built and opened for service on 8th November 1930.

It was soon realised that more room was required and a new chapel was proposed on 3rd July 1935. The foundation stone was laid on 28th September 1935 and the new Chapel opened on 11th April 1938 next to the original church. The total cost of the new Chapel was £1,577. The Chapel was built by Sam Burrows and Sons. The original church was pulled down in 1965. By 1975 there was a need for a larger chapel as the congregation had grown to over two hundred. A new chapel was built in Doreen Avenue (at the back of the old one) at a cost of approximately £10,000.

St. Chad's

The foundation stone of St. Chad's Hall-cum-Church, situated on Twickenham Drive in Leasowe, was laid on 15th May 1954 by the Secretary of the Building Committee, H M Alderson-Smith. The building opened in June 1955 and cost £13,590. 1s. 1d - the cost was met by the local congregation and was paid for on 11th October 1958 after four years. The dedication of the Altar was performed on 4th June 1955 by the Right Revd, G. A Ellison. The first organ was brought on 11th October 1955 for £20. Rector Revd. Edwards of Moreton took the service, with others on a rotation basis until they found someone else more permanent.

The curate to Revd. Edwards, the Revd. R. Jeacock, was proposed, but the Bishop had someone else in mind. The parishioners objected strongly; thus Revd. R. Jeacock got the position when he was ordained. A house was purchased for the Reverend for £500 in August 1956 and was sited on Reeds Lane by the River Birket and called 'Birketside'.

The Hall-cum-Church had a screen at the back which was raised on Sundays to reveal the Altar. When it was lowered it reversed to a Hall which was used for all activities.

It was decided to form a Church Building Committee with the intention of erecting a new Church. The Committee was formed in November 1956 and a Building Fund Account was opened at the Midland Bank in November 1957. On 16th May 1961, permission was asked for and given by the Pastoral Committee with a £7,000 loan from the Diocese. By then they had over £5,000 in the Building Fund so things moved on. A Contract was signed on 6th September 1965 with the builders. The foundation stone was laid on Sunday, 1st May 1966 by the Lord Bishop of Chester, Right Revd. G.A Ellison. The consecration was on 6th May 1967 which was also performed by Right Revd. G.A Ellison. The total cost of building the new church totalled £37,634.

Our Lady of Lourdes

The first Parish Mass was held on Sunday, February 3rd, 1957, when the Parish Priest said the first Mass in the hall of the Birket Infants School. In April 1957, a house was bought on the Leasowe estate for a temporary Presbytery, where daily mass was said and the Sanctuary lamp was lit. It was decided a new Catholic school should be built in the area as well as a new Church. Arthur Farebrother and Partners, of Manchester, were commissioned to draw up plans.

The Catholic Church of 'Our Lady of Lourdes' was built on 2½ acres which was reserved by the Local Authority. After a delay the land was bought for £3,000 in 1959, except for a small strip of frontage which was acquired by March 1960. The builders Tyson's Ltd, of Liverpool, moved onto the site and the work began. Owing to the bad bearing quality of the land, extensive piling was necessary to a depth of 30 feet which added well over £7,000 to the estimated cost. The foundation stone was laid on Saturday, 7th October 1961 and the Church opened in 1962.

New Brighton

St. James' Church

It was as early as 1839 when it was first suggested that a church should be built in New Brighton when William Rowson, son-in-law to the founder of New Brighton, James Atherton, recruited subscribers for the building of a place of worship for the new resort. Initially nothing came of the scheme and all monies were returned but in 1853 Rowson reopened the account with a generous donation of £700. Other donations followed and work began in the same year.

The foundation stone of St. Jame's Church, on Victoria Road, was laid by the Bishop of Chester, John Graham, D.D., on 16th February 1854. Designed by Sir Gilbert Scott (1811-1878) who also designed Albert Memorial, St. Pancras Station and Hotel and the Home Office and Colonial Buildings in London. Work progressed well but on 22nd November, 1854 a violent storm erupted which caused a great deal of damage to the half-built church. As a result, work upon the church was put back many months and further funds were required to repair the damage. The total cost raising to £13,000. The church is built in sandstone in a gothic style and was originally lit by oil lamps until 1860 when gas lamps were installed. On 28th March, 1896 a fire broke out in the heating apparatus chamber and was quickly extinguished by the Brigade. In 1900 the church was converted to electricity which was a gift from W.G Ellery.

St. James' Church was consecrated on 10th July, 1856 by Bishop Graham. The vicarage was added later on adjoining land. The first incumbent of St. James' was the Norfolk-born Revd. Richard Drake Fowell, M.A., who would go on to complete a 33 years of service at St. James' until his death on 19th March 1887. Fowell Road that runs nearby is named in his honour.

St. Andrew's Church

The first Wesleyan Methodist Society in Wallasey was established in 1860 and consisted of 14 members who met in rented rooms in Egerton Street. Robert Huworth was in particular the core member of the Society and takes much credit in its early formative years. With members expanding and money raised it was decided to purchase land on the corner of Rowson Street and Egerton Street for £240 with the intention of building a church.

The New Brighton Methodist Chapel was designed by Henry V. Vale, F.R.I.B.A., President of the Liverpool Architectural Society, and the foundation stone was laid on Friday, 22nd April, 1870 by William Litherland of Liverpool. The Chapel was officially opened for worship on 23rd November, 1870 when the Revd. John Farrar, the President of the Wesleyan Conference, preached the sermon. Originally the Chapel seated 350 people but due to demand for extra seating the Chapel was enlarged with the building of an Eastern Aisle in 1893, which provided an extra 100 seats. A further extension was followed with the building of the Western Aisle in 1901 which provided an extra 83 seats for an ever increasing congregation. In December 1940 and again 12th March 1941 and 4th May 1941 the church suffered air-raid damage. For a time the services had to be held in the Sunday School room under the church. It was not until after the war that the damages could be repaired and on 1st December 1948 the church reopened. In 1986, the tower was in need of repair but due to costs, it was decided to reduce the tower by 25 feet and replace with a modern cap.

St. Peter & St. Paul

The Catholics of New Brighton first met in a rented-room in Egerton Street, at a cost of £16 per annum, in 1879 and was established by Father William Stanton from St. Albans Church, Mill Lane and Canon Randolph Frith. The meeting place was actually the same room where the Wesleyan community met in the 1860s. The two men then began, with voluntary subscription, to look into the building of a church. the site of the church had been donated by Mr Walsh who also donated £500 towards the construction costs. The church was built in red brick in the Gothic Style and was consecrated by the Right Revd. Bishop Edmund Knight, M.D., of Shrewsbury, on 19th June, 1881.

It was also decided to establish a school nearby. The owner of 'The Palace' on New Brighton Promenade, Laurence Connolly, who was also a Liverpool Councillor and Fruit Broker, was the main benefactor. The school was opened 27th July, 1885 and was situated on the opposite side of Hope Street near its junction with Grosvenor Road.

Canon Frith was the first parish priest of St. Peter & St. Paul until his retirement in 1887, age the age of 78. Father (later Canon) William Stanton replaced him. The last incumbent being Monsignor Canon Curran from 1925 to 1940. In December 1940, during the Second World War, the church suffered heavy air-raid damage and lay derelict for a time until being demolished. The parishioners all moving to SS Peter & Paul on Atherton Street. Today the former site is now a supermarket car park.

SS Peter & Paul

Prior to the building of SS Peter & Paul there once stood an older building, 'Sandrock', that occupied the site. The History of 'Sandrock' has been covered in 'Mansions of Wallasey' so further reading can be found in that section.

With the increasing numbers of people living in New Brighton, Father Thomas Mullins, who came to the parish in 1909, decided it was time for a bigger church. Originally the new church was going to be built at the junction of Rowson Street and Seabank Road but the landowner decided not to sell the land so a different site had to be found.

High on top of St. George's Mount stood 'Sandrock', which had been erected on land which was once owned by James Atherton. After various tenants and becoming a Cenacle Convent for French Nuns, Father Mullins purchased the old building and land for £3,000. Father Mullins now had to raise £58,000 to build the church but this was in the days of the Great Depression during the 1920's. It took several years before any start could be made on the site - about 1930 when 'Sandrock' was demolished and the first foundations of the church was laid.

The architect of SS Peter & Paul was E. Bower & Norris who designed the church in the style based on the Estrella or Basilca of the Sacred Heart in London which Father Mullins had studied there in the English College, It is built of concrete, with an outer casting of brick in the style of Renaissance, with a fine copper covered dome and a cross at the pinnacle. With years of wear it is now green. The church was built by James A Milerston & Son, whose firm had already built two Anglican Churches in the town, along with several other large buildings.

The first mass was on 2nd August, 1935 when the church was blessed by Father Mullins. In 1945 Father Mullins died at the age of 81 and is buried at Rake Lane Cemetery.

In August 2008 the SS Peter & Paul Church was closed and all services transferred to All Saints Parish School in Hose Side Road. The future of SS Peter & Paul is uncertain.

All Saints Anglican Church

Before the church was built services were held in a temporary building. The first service was held on Whitsunday 1919. The plans for a permanent church were submitted by Sir Giles Scott R.A in 1927 who also designed the Liverpool Anglican Church. He also designed many churches around the country as well as buildings such as the Library at Cambridge University.

Sir Frederick North's trustees gave a donation of £7,000 towards the cost of the new church on the proviso that it was built within seven years of his gift. The foundation stone of All Saints was laid on 9th July 1927. Dr Pagat, Bishop of Chester, consecrated the church on 15th December, 1928, and constituted a separate parish on 21st Match 1929. The first incumbent of the church was the Revd. W.J Philpin, B.A who had already been curate-in-charge since 1919. He retired after serving the parish for 27 years in 1956. The nave in the church was completed in 1939 but the sanctuary was not completed until after 1945 due to the outbreak of hostilities.

Emmanuel Church

The first reference of a church on the site that later became Emmanuel Church was in 1879 when an "iron building" was recorded in the annals of St. Jame's Church and was known as the Mission Chapel. The church was built of corrugated iron. The first minister was Revd. Edgar Stockdale from 1881 to 1889.

The earliest mention of Emmanuel was in a report published in the 'Wallasey & Wirral Chronicle' in April 1889. The report noted the meeting at St. James' Church whereby those in attendance urged the Revd. J.F Howson that a regular Sunday service should be held at Emmanuel and that a clergyman should take charge but the population of the New Brighton Parish was not sufficiently numerous to justify morning services.

However, at a farewell speech to the parishioners of New Brighton in October 1889, the retiring Revd Howson pointed out the pressing need of a permanent building to replace the "iron building".

No further reference to the building of the new church is to be found until the year 1898 when a New Brighton parochial bazaar was held and £707 was raised towards furnishing of the new church. On 28th October, 1899, the foundation stone of the church was laid by the Duchess of Westminster, the building fund being opened by a gift of £1,000 from Mr and Mrs .North.of .New Brighton. Design of the new church was by the architect Charles Earnest Deacon (1844-1927).

Slow progress was made in the completion of the fabric of the church and it was not until 1st May, 1909, 10 years after the laying of the foundation stone, that the Church was completed. The Revd. F.E Sandys was appointed the first vicar of Emmanuel and ministered to the Parish until 1932.

In May 1991, Merseyside Development Corporation (MDC) agreed to fund improvements to the Church Hall. A new roof was fitted, the exterior was re-pointed, emergency lighting was fitted, a new kitchen was re-sited and built, the toilets were updated and later a toilet for the disabled was installed as well as wheelchair access.

Due to the increasing instability of the church building, the church was demolished in 1998. The new foundation stone was laid on 21st January 2001 by the Bishop of Birkenhead. By 1st November the new church was opened costing £270,500.

Liscard Congregational Church

The old Liscard Congregational Church, which stood in Rake Lane near to Stroud Corner, was built by John Astley Marsden of Liscard Hall, in 1842. It was erected on a piece of land which he owned, in the Anglo-Gothic style with tower and lancet windows. When built he passed it over the the trustees. While the chapel was being built Mr Marsden saw an advertisement for the Sale of a pulpit and memorial tablet of the famous preacher and hymn writer, Dr. Isaac Watts, in St. Mary Axe in London, which had been demolished some months earlier. He purchased them and had then placed in the in the new chapel. There were also fine bas-relief scenes in the chancel under the window.

The church cost in the region of £1,200 to build. This was met by Mr. Marsden. The church opened on 1st September 1842, when Revd. Dr. Thomas Raffles and Caleb Morris, of London preached sermons. Alterations and extensions were made in 1888, so the church could hold a larger number of people - up to 700 people. The first pastor wa the Revd. H. Lawson Brown, who began his ministry in 1889. At the same time of the alterations a mission hall was built and opened in Field Road. This remained part of the church until 1955 when it was sold.

During the Second World War the church suffered damage during air-raids. The hall was destroyed, and the adjoining school, built in 1865, was completely destroyed. The church was restored at the hall was restored at the cost of over £20,00 during 1953-54.. The Revd. Maurice Williams laid the foundation stone.

In 1970 the church had to be demolished due to the building becoming unsafe with dry rot. Marsden Court, which is now sheltered housing that comprises of 28 flats, was built on the site in 1978.

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#355336 - 7th Oct 2009 7:08pm Re: History Of Wallasey Churches [Re: ]
Doctor_Frick Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 24th Nov 2007
Posts: 308
Loc: Prenton
Nice Info Paul. Id been meaning to read up on SS Peter & Pauls.
Over 5000 years of Wirral History:


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