Sacred Heart

 

Awarded a grant to help fund a project to carry out repairs to the roof and rainwater goods and to repoint stonework. The repairs will help realise plans to convert the crypt and encourage wider community use. The stone fabric of Sacred Heart Church is generally in good condition. However the roofs are deteriorating badly and need urgent work to prevent further water damage to the fine interior which is richly decorated with inlay and mosaic.

Sacred Heart is a major building in the Tunstall Park Conservation area and as such is at the heart of efforts to regenerate 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, as well as St Oswald & St Edmund, Ashton-in Makerfield. 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 church was built on a raft foundation to avoid the danger of subsidence. The interior is Romanesque and includes items bought abroad by Fr Ryan.The body of the church consists of three bays, each covered by a dome.

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