An Armenian Apostolic Church, vicarage, and boundary wall, of 1869-1870 by Royle and Bennett of Manchester.
Reason for Listing
Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church, vicarage, and boundary wall, 1869-70 by Royle and Bennett, are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Date: as the first purpose-built Armenian Church in England and most probably Western Europe
* Rarity: as one of only two purpose-built Armenian churches in England
* Historic: as providing the first and most culturally significant physical evidence of the Armenian diaspora in Manchester; the most influential Armenian community in Western Europe during this period
* Associations: for its clear links with people and events recognised as historically significant in both national and international terms
The first Armenian merchants settled in Manchester in 1835; by 1862 it is estimated there were thirty Armenian businesses in the city dealing in the textile trade. The Armenian community rented a chapel on the outskirts of the city from the 1860s, until in 1867 plans were initiated by Vartabed Kiuroyan to build a church and vicarage. Funds were collected from nearly 50 sponsors and prominent local architects Royle and Bennett were employed to design the buildings. This site was purchased close to where several members of the community resided; construction began in 1869 and was completed at a cost of £2725. The first service was held on Easter Sunday 1870, making Holy Trinity the first purpose built Armenian Apostolic Church in Western Europe.
Its footprint has remained unchanged since the time of its construction. The church has undergone some internal alterations. These include the replacement of the draft screen to the nave in 1997; the former wooden lobby had been inserted shortly after the church’s construction. Radiators were replaced during the 1980s. The basement began to be converted into a social space during the 1970s, including the insertion of new facilities and partitions. New external access to the basement was inserted during the 1980s.
MATERIALS: sandstone bricks with buff bricks to the rear elevations, as well as the north west elevation of the vicarage. Roofs are of slate with some fish-scale.
PLAN: the church is rectangular plan, aligned south west to north east, with its entrance facing onto Upper Brook Street. The vicarage is attached to the north west, set back from the street frontage.
EXTERIOR: The buildings are constructed in an eclectic neo-Gothic style. The church has a large polygonal entrance porch with rose windows and a circular window above with tracery based on an Armenian cross. The latter includes stained glass depicting the seventh letter of the Armenian alphabet, representing ‘Father of God’. There is a gable cross above. Nave windows have pointed heads and intersecting tracery; there are two to the north west and four to the south east. These have plain leaded glazing and are separated by full height buttresses. These elevations incorporate a dentilled eaves cornice. The rear of the church has a tall semi-circular apse, with a rectangular plan ambulatory attached. This section incorporates polychromatic brickwork to the pointed arch windows, as well as cogged brickwork to the apse eaves.
The vicarage is of two-bays and two-storeys plus attic and basement, with its main elevation to the south-west. The entrance is to the left with window above; both are within square-headed, chamfered surrounds. The second bay is made up of a full height gable including dormer, with windows to each level. That to the ground floor is paired with side lights, the first floor is paired with a stone mullion and that to the attic is single. All are under shallow pointed arch surrounds. All windows and the door are modern. A skylight has also been inserted to the roof. The north-west gable end is blind. The rear elevation has a door and scattered windows under polychromatic brick segmental heads, although one has been altered. All windows and the door are renewed.
INTERIOR: the nave is open plan, save for a lightweight modern draft porch. It is simple and whitewashed, with free-standing pews to either side. The choir is separated from the pews by a low arcaded screen, in pitch pine matching the pews. The ceiling ribs are supported by marble column corbels. Lighting includes a chandelier which hangs from a ceiling rose with a foliage-like motif within the central bay. A marble baptism basin sits to the north west wall. A 2008 memorial is sited on the south-west wall commemorating those Armenians who died during the genocide; this incorporates a recess housing bone fragments from Syria. To the eastern end there is an arch flanked by two polished marble columns with inscribed bases commemorating their donation by a member of the Turkish Government. The rounded apse houses the high altar on a platform, which is ornately decorated with twisted columns with Corinthian capitals, gilt detailing and electric illuminations. A painting of the Madonna and child sits in the centre; this is not the original. To the rear of the apse there are two niches with marble shelves for housing the Communion and goblets. An ambulatory runs around the rear of the apse, with access to the altar. There is internal access between the vicarage and the church, with the door sitting to the left of the baptism basin.
The vicarage has a dog-leg stair with stick balusters to the north-west. The ground floor consists of two rooms and a bathroom. The front room gives access to the church; this retains its original plasterwork and a red marble fire surround, while the rooms to the rear have been largely modernised, including the removal of a fireplace. The first floor front room has been subdivided, although it retains original plasterwork and green marble fire surround with grate. This floor also houses a modern inserted bathroom and kitchen; the fireplace has been lost. The stairs to the attic have been boarded in on the landing, necessitating the loss of some of the handrail. The attic houses a number of rooms, although they are all modern in character. All doors are four panel; those to the lower two floors have chamfered panels while those to the attic are plainer.
The basement is accessed internally via the vicarage’s stair hall, although there is also access from the front of the church and the south east. It houses facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms to the north west, while the area beneath the church is largely open-plan. The ambulatory area is used for storage. Windows are renewed.
Subsidiary features: The plot is mostly surrounded by a low brick wall with renewed railings. There are three sets of chamfered sandstone gate piers with rounded tops; the gates themselves have been renewed.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.