Sacred Heart is a major building in the Tunstall Park Conservation area and is at the heart of the regeneration of Tunstall town centre. The Tunstall mission started from Cobridge in 1853 in a dual purpose school/chapel dedicated to St Mary. A new church was built in 1869 and remained in use until 1930 when the present church was opened by Archbishop Downey of Liverpool, who described the building as 'a miracle of beauty'.
The architect, JS Brocklesby also designed the nearby St Joseph's, Burslem. He was reportedly dismissed by the Parish Priest Fr PJ Ryan, who continued as clerk of works himself, using unemployed parishioners in the construction. Much of the stained glass and woodcarving was created by young parishioners under the guidance of Gordon Forsyth, Director of the Burslem School of Art. The interior is Romanesque and includes items bought abroad by Fr Ryan.
Sacred Heart is planning to redevelop its large crypt as a fully accessible community space with a kitchen and toilets. The large crypt area under the church will be developed as a self-contained, fully accessible community space with kitchen and toilets. It will provide affordable and accessible community space in Tunstall for community groups to hire.
Top tips from completed project feedback:
- Important to develop a good case for support for the project
- Make sure you can evidence the need through consultation work, surveys, discussions and
letters of support
- Try to get the feasibility work funded and resourced, use outside help if necessary
- Try to engage local partners that will share your enthusiasm and vision for the project