The Sacred Heart Church is a redundant Catholic church on Tyldesley Road, Hindsford, Atherton in Greater Manchester, England. Built to serve Irish immigrant families, it was designated a Grade II listed building by English Heritage in 2001.[1]


The Catholic parish was established in the 19th century to serve the Irish families who had immigrated to work in the area’s cotton mills and coal mines. The church was built on a site donated by Lord Lilford. John Holland of the Tyldesley Coal CompanyCoal company was formed in 1870 in Tyldesley on the Manchester Coalfield, in the historic county of Lancashire, England. provided materials to build the church, which was consecrated by the Bishop of Liverpool, Alexander Goss in 1869.[2] A separate presbyteryPart of the chancel in a Christian church housing the altar, or a residence for Roman Catholic priests., built at about the same time, was linked to the church in matching materials by 1894. Sacred Heart School opened in 1888. It was demolished by 2000, and the church closed for worship in 2004.[1]

Small stone church, steeple to the right
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Sacred Heart Church

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The church was built to the design of the architect Edmund Kirby of Birkenhead, and was extended soon after its completion, and altered in the 20th century. It is built in the Early English style, in squared rubble sandstone with red ashlarMasonry of squared and finely cut or worked stone, commonly used for the facing of a building. sandstone dressings, decorative banding, coped gables with cross finials and its roof is laid in bands of blue and grey fish-scale slates.[1] The architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner has described it as a “pretty church”.[3]


The east elevation has a tall wide gable with a large round window of circular lights around a central quatrefoil. At the north-east corner is a multi-stage square tower with stepped chamfered corners supporting an octagonal spire with lucarnes. In the centre of the elevation is a gabled porch with a cinquefoil window above a pointed arch with twin pointed arch doorways. To its left is the baptistery. The south elevation has five bays with paired lancet windowsTall, narrow window typically associated with the Gothic architectural style. separated by gabled buttresses and a single-storey extension for the confessional in its centre bay. The sanctuary is canted, with tall three-light windows with cinquefoil heads separated by buttresses.[1]


The naveCentral part of a church, used by the laiety., aisles and chancelPart of a church containing the altar, used by the officiating clergy. are under a single-arched roof, with exposed rafters supported by arch-braced king post roof trussesStructural framework of timbers designed to bridge the space above a room and to provide support for a roof. ; the collar beamsStructural framework of timbers designed to bridge the space above a room and to provide support for a roof. are supported on corbelsStructural piece of stone, wood or metal jutting from a wall to carry a superincumbent load.. The main entrance is in the narthexVestibule before the main entrance to a Christian church, less sacred than the church proper. at the east end, which also provides access to the gallery, housing the organ. The altar survives, and there is a carved wooden pulpit. The central aisle has contemporary pews on either side. The sanctuary windows, from 1881, were produced by the German glassworks firm of Mayer.[1]