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Kirkham United Reformed Church, Kirkham

Description: Kirkham United Reformed Church

Grade: II
Date Listed: 12 July 2012
English Heritage Building ID: 1407288

OS Grid Reference: SD4242432126
OS Grid Coordinates: 342424, 432127
Latitude/Longitude: 53.7823, -2.8753

Locality: Kirkham
Local Authority: Fylde Borough Council
County: Lancashire
Country: England
Postcode: PR4 2AP

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Listing Text


A former Congregational Church, built in 1896 to a design by Briggs & Wolstenholme and now a United Reformed Church.

Reason for Listing

Kirkham United Reformed Church is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: with its massing and prominent spire rising from a tall tower the church's commanding position on the town's main thoroughfare adds considerable interest to the street scene.

* Architects: it is an early example of the work of the architectural practice of Briggs & Wolstenholme who have three listed buildings to their name and who, along with the architect Thornley, became a prominent and well-respected north-west architectural practice with eleven listed buildings to their name including United Reformed Churches at Egremont (Grade II) and Fairhaven (Grade II*).

* Historic interest: the church is a good example of one of the numerous Congregationalist churches inherited by the United Reformed Church after the union of English Presbyterians and Congregationalists (Independents).


Kirkham United Reformed Church was built as a Congregational Church in 1896 to a design by the notable architectural practice of Briggs & Wolstenholme, which has several listed buildings to its name. In 1995 a large single-storey rear extension with a basement was built to accommodate a youth centre, meeting rooms, kitchen and toilets. About five years later internal alteration to the church saw the vestibule being extended forward to the same level as the balcony above.


A former Congregational Church now a United Reformed Church located on Poulton Street, Kirkham, built in 1896 to a design by Briggs & Wolstenholme in a fusion of Gothic revival and Romanesque styles and extended to the rear in 1995. The church is built in rock-faced sandstone with sandstone dressings beneath a slate roof while the rear extension is built in brick with sandstone dressings.

Exterior: The Poulton Street (south) elevation is of three bays with matching round-arched doorways in each of the end bays and a central bay with three round-arched windows to the ground floor, above which is a large and elaborate window with bar tracery beneath a round arch. The central bay finishes in a gable topped by a ball finial. The left bay consists of a tower that is buttressed at its lower half and has a long narrow window above the door and a belfry above that. A tall steeple rises from the tower and both the upper part of the tower and the steeple are executed in ashlar.

The west elevation has the tower at the right end, a buttressed nave with three tall and narrow round-headed windows, a transept with a large window with bar tracery flanked by narrow windows all of which are round-headed, and a short two-storey bay at the left end with a door to the ground floor and a cambered-arched window to the upper floor. A modern brick-built extension is attached to the left end of the west elevation.

The north elevation has a gable chimney stack but is largely obscured by a large, modern attached single-storey extension with a basement. The extension is not of special interest and is not included in the designation.

The east elevation has a transept and nave matching that on the west elevation and terminates at its south end in an octagonal staircase tower that projects to eaves height.

Interior: The entrance leads into a vestibule that has leaded and stained glass windows to the front elevation. Glass and timber doors give access to the nave. At the north end of the nave the original organ in a wooden organ case is housed within an arched alcove which is fronted by a projected stepped wooden platform containing two short staircases leading to a broad pulpit extending in front of the organ. A simple altar and reading desk stand on the platform. Wooden doors with stained glass flank the alcove and give access to the organ, and brass plaques are affixed to the wall either side of these doors. The nave and transepts have timber wall panelling to window sill height and leaded windows with stained glass decoration around the edges. There is a timber-fronted balcony above the vestibule which is accessed by a simple yet well-designed timber staircase. To the rear of the balcony there is a broad round-headed arch within which is the leaded and stained glass window on the building's south elevation. A doorway to the right of the arch leads into the tower and steeple. The nave roof is formed by arched trusses incorporating arcaded framing. Seating in the nave is on three sets of curved benches with raised bench ends separated by aisles.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.