St. Augustine's, Grosvenor Square

The web site of St. Augustine’s Parish says this about the church and its parish.

"St Augustine's is one of the oldest in Manchester, only St. Chad’s, Cheetham Hill (1773) and St. Mary’s in Mulberry Street (1794) are older and all three were founded by the same tireless priest, Fr. Rowland Broomhead.

The first St. Augustine’s Church was built in 1820 on Granby Row, near the present day Manchester Piccadilly Train Station. At the time there were only 500 Catholics in the Manchester District, which included Bolton, Rochdale, Stockport, Glossop and Macclesfield. This first Church was sold and demolished in 1905 to make way for the Manchester Technical College which in turn became UMIST (University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology). In 2004 UMIST merged with the Victoria University of Manchester to establish the University of Manchester.

With the money from the sale, a second Church was built in 1908 on York Street where the Mancunian Way and the National Computer Centre now cross York Street. This Church existed for only 32 years as it was destroyed in the Manchester Blitz of Christmas 1940, and Fr. George Street was killed. The collage in one of the current side chapels is made from the chalices crushed in the destruction. Our foundation stone (situated in the Lady Chapel) comes from the York Street Church. The popular artist of Salford and Manchester, L.S. Lowry, painted the scene of the destroyed Church (1945).

Photograph above taken by Pauline Leech and shown with the permission of Chetham's Library.

Meanwhile, the Holy Family Church (built 1845), on our present site, was bought from a Welsh Methodist congregation in 1875 to serve as the place of worship for the newly founded St. Bede’s College. Cardinal Manning preached at the ceremony to mark the Chapel’s opening as a place of Catholic worship. St. Bede’s soon outgrew its first buildings on Grosvenor Square and moved to its current site (the former Manchester Aquarium) in Alexandra Park later in the nineteenth century. At this point the Holy Family Parish was erected: although quite small geographically it was densely populated. However, it remained a parish for only a short time since in 1908 with the building of the second St. Augustine’s the two parishes were amalgamated and Holy Family became a chapel once more. After the destruction of the second St. Augustine’s it became de facto the parish Church.

In 1966 the Holy Family Church, by now showing its age, was demolished and our new Church of St Augustine of Canterbury was built on the same site using money from the government's War Damage Commission.

It was the first Parish Church to be built for the Diocese of Salford since the completion of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the reforms of the liturgy which the Council called for were brought into the design and execution of the new Church. It opened on 19 March 1968 and was consecrated by Bishop Thomas Holland on 20 October 1970."

Below are some images of the inside of St Augustine's in October of 2009.

Below the Lower Chatham Street view.