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Description: Emmanuel Church
Date Listed: 26 August 1976
English Heritage Building ID: 216550
OS Grid Reference: SP1182593352
OS Grid Coordinates: 411825, 293352
Latitude/Longitude: 52.5379, -1.8271
734/3/79 BIRMINGHAM ROAD
26-AUG-76 WYLDE GREEN
(Formerly listed as:
1909-26, by W.H. Bidlake. Nave and aisles were built before 1914; chancel completed by 1926. Planned crossing tower and transepts not executed. Lady chapel and halls added 1967.
MATERIALS: Red brick, limestone dressings, tiled roofs
PLAN: Five-bay nave with clerestory, north and south aisles, shallow baptistery at the west end. Apsidal chancel. Vestries (south-east), Lady chapel (north-east).
EXTERIOR: Facing the road is a polygonal apse with gabled bays divided by buttresses that terminate in stone pinnacles with crocketed finials. The tall four-light windows have Geometric tracery, and hoodmoulds decorated with ballflower. The effect of the apse from the road is decidely French. Against the south side of the chancel a tall bellcote rises from a buttress. The five-bay nave has tall three-light windows with a continuous brick hoodmould. The lean-to aisles below the nave windows have buttresses with stone gables. Two-light square-headed aisle windows. At the west end of the south aisle there is a canted turret for the gallery stairs, with hipped roof and a deep band of blue brick lozenges under the eaves. The west gable has a large five-light traceried window flanked by buttresses of a lozenge section. There is a shallow projection across the lower part of the west front containing the baptistery, with a central two-light window flanked by doorways. The 1967 Lady Chapel is rendered, with a steep north-facing gable containing three asymmetrically placed slit windows. The associated parish rooms (1967) are of red brick, but otherwise without any attempt at being contextual. Facing the road is a weatherboarded clerestory set on flat roofs. The rooms partly obscure the lower north side of the church, and are not of special interest.
INTERIOR: The interior is impressively high. The chancel arch is tall, the arch of moulded stone set on canted brick responds. The choir has a stone lierne vault with contrasting ribs and carved bosses. A further arch, this time with detached stone shafts, separates it from the sanctuary, which has a radial vault. The nave arcades have triangular brick piers supporting stone arches which frame the windows, while below their sills are subsidiary round arches opening into the aisles. The surrounding walls are rendered and white-painted. Over the nave is a very fine timber roof, two roof bays to each arcade bay. It is a variant on a hammerbeam design: arched braces descend to short hammerbeams, with the braces terminating in carved pendants. Further arch-braces spring from the ends of the hammerbeams, parallel with the line of the wall. There are two tiers of windbraces. The west end of the nave has an organ gallery on a canted arcade of three bays, with piers of quatrefoil section. The baptistery occupies the central bay, under a brick vault with stone ribs. Wood block floors beneath the seating, chancel and passageways quarry-tiled.
PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: Fine font with a curved tapering octagonal bowl of golden marble on a central stem, surrounded by four green marble shafts. Polygonal pulpit of oak, 1936, with linenfold panels below pierced tracery; matching backboard and tester in one piece. English altar, 1927, with carved, coloured and gilded timber reredos of triptych form. Plain oak stalls with shallow panels, each with an ogee-quatrefoil motif. Brass music rests. Nave seating of oak chairs, early C20. The Willis organ of 1932 has a Gothic case with an attractive swept gabled centre, designed by Stephen Bicknell. Plain oak rood beam with carved and painted rood figures, early C20.
HISTORY: William Henry Bidlake (1861-1938) was born in Wolverhampton, the son of an architect. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools, London, and under Bodley & Garner. He set up in independent practice in 1887, and taught architecture at the Birmingham School of Art from 1893. He designed many Arts and Crafts houses in the middle-class suburbs of Birmingham, as well as a number of Gothic churches of which St Agatha, Sparkbrook, is acknowledged as his masterpiece.
Mason, R, and Barnard, T, 'One of my finest works, the Willis organs at Emmanuel, Wylde Green' (2002)
Pevsner, N and Wedgwood, A, Buildings of England: Warwickshire (1966) 425-6
Church handbook (1997)
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
The Emmanuel Church, Wylde Green, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* An outstanding and ambitious early C20 town church by the Birmingham architect W.H. Bidlake
* Impressively tall polygonal apse in a French Gothic style
* Especially fine interior with stone-vaulted chancel and apse, and in the nave pared down Gothic detailing after St Agatha, Sparkbrook
* Rich early C20 fittings, notably the font, altar, reredos, pulpit, and organ case
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.