Many people’s involvement with churches starts and ends during their schooldays, with hymns in assembly and visits to the local church at Easter and Christmas. Churches can be far more engaging than half-mouthed prayers though, and are particularly rich resources for lovers of architecture, art and history. We all know about Medieval and Gothic masterpieces, but 20th Century churches are just as worthy of our interest. A new exhibition, Churches in the Modern World, an outcome of a Glasgow School of Art research project on these landmark buildings and their place in society, is touring the country, stopping off for a month at St Augustine’s in Manchester, which was completed in 1968. The mid-20th Century saw Britain transformed as new housing estates and towns were built to rehouse the residents of overcrowded inner cities, and many new Roman Catholic churches were built in these areas, often in architecturally innovative styles that were radically different to churches built only decades before them. Today, many of these churches are in danger of being demolished or altered as ideas about church architecture change, and the research project aims to raise awareness of their rich architectural and religious heritage. The resulting exhibition presents case studies of nine churches in major cities and their suburbs using new and archive photography, new drawings and original architects’ sketches and quotations, alongside quotations from documents of the period. In addition to the exhibition, St Augustine’s itself is well worth visiting for the artworks of Robert Brumby, which include a monumental ceramic reredos (that’s an alter decoration to you and me).

Mon 10 Dec – Mon 7 Jan 2013, St Augustine’s, St Augustus Presbytery, Grosvenor Street, M15 6BW, Tel: 0161 236 6762, FREE,

Mon 10 Dec - Mon 7 Jan
Natalie Bradbury
Published on:
Sun 9 Dec 2012