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Anglican Church of All Saints (Formerly St Aiden), Birmingham

Description: Anglican Church of All Saints (Formerly St Aiden)

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 21 January 1970
English Heritage Building ID: 217275

OS Grid Reference: SP0916485860
OS Grid Coordinates: 409164, 285860
Latitude/Longitude: 52.4706, -1.8665

Location: 190 Herbert Road, Birmingham B10 9AY

Locality: Birmingham
County: Birmingham
Country: England
Postcode: B10 9AY

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Listing Text

997/7/51 HERBERT ROAD B10
Anglican Church of All Saints (Formerl
y St Aiden)

(Formerly listed as:

An Anglican parish church in a Perpendicular style, built in 1893-8, by Thomas Frederick Proud (d.1901).

MATERIALS: The building is constructed from red brick with buff terracotta dressings, and tile roofs.

PLAN: The building is orientated north east-south west. It should be noted that the church has been reorientated, so the ritual east end is at the western end of the building.The plan has a nave with apsidal western end, now the sanctuary, north and south aisles, Lady Chapel situated at the eastern end of the north aisle, guild chapel situated at the eastern end of the south aisle, two porches to the south side and a further porch to the eastern end, housing the current main entrance. The eastern end beyond the former chancel arch is now an entrance hall, with meeting rooms to north and south.

EXTERIOR: The building is set on a moulded brick plinth, with angle buttresses with two offsets, and a moulded string course. There are eaves mouldings and raised copings to all the sections. The church has an exceedingly lofty nave with narrow, lean-to aisles and tall, two-light mullioned windows with Geometric tracery to the clerestory, under a continuous drip mould. The aisles, divided by buttresses, are windowless. The western end of the nave, now the east end, is apsidal, with three-light windows with cusped heads. Above is a bellcote at the gable end of the clerestory. There are two gabled porches to the south side: the larger, towards the western end of the building, is of four orders, with its original dripmould supporting a canopied niche with statue. Below this are double doors under cusped ogival arches and Perpendicular tracery. A more modest secondary porch is situated further towards the eastern end of the building. To the eastern end of the south side, adjoining the east end of the south aisle, is the Guild chapel, a slightly higher block with a pitched roof, half-height buttresses with strip pilasters above, and lancets between. The east wall has a triple-lancet window with a drip mould. The main entrance is now at the eastern end of the building, a gabled porch in matching materials and glazed round-arched opening.

INTERIOR: The former chancel at the eastern end of the church is now an entrance hall with an inserted ceiling and meeting hall above, and the chancel arch glassed in. The canopy to the former choir stalls is retained in situ at the north side of the new entrance vestibule. Glass doors under the former chancel arch give access to the body of the church. There are four broad bays to the very high nave, formed from four-centred arches on wide piers with attached columns. There is a wealth of decoration to the ceiling and upper wall surfaces. The rood beam, still in situ at the former chancel arch, is of carved and polychrome timber, surmounted by a Calvary, by Frederick Bligh Bond (1864-1945). The apsidal former baptistery at the western end of the building is now the sanctuary. The Lady Chapel at the eastern end of the north aisle has an intricately carved and pierced polychrome screen by Frederick Bligh Bond. Its gold-ground reredos commemorates the architect of the church. The Guild Chapel to the south has a similar highly-decorative pierced and carved screen to the aisle. Its east window, depicting Christ as the Good Shepherd, is by Bertram Lamplugh of the Birmingham School of Arts. The C15 font, situated at the rear of the worship space, was brought here from the Church of St Stephen in Bristol.

SOURCES: Pevsner, N and Wedgwood, A, The Buildings of England: Warwickshire (1966), 204-5
Smith-Chopra, R, All Saints, Small Heath - Continuing the Journey of the Saints (2002)
History of the County of Warwick (Victoria County History), Volume 7: City of Birmingham (1964), 383

HISTORY: In common with many areas outside the city centre of Birmingham, Small Heath grew up as a suburb thanks to industrial expansion during the second half of the C19. The area was originally part of the large parish of Aston, but from the mid-C19, the parish began to be subdivided as the population grew. Much of the present area of Small Heath was part of the parish of All Saints by 1890, centred on All Saints' church in Oakley Road; this church, which had been built in 1875 to designs by A E Dempster, was subsequently to be destroyed by enemy action during World War II. A mission church, dedicated to St Aidan, was set up in 1891, at first housed in a temporary iron church on a constrained garden site in the midst of terraced housing. From the outset, the worship was 'High Church', in the Anglo-Catholic tradition. The congregation grew rapidly, and by 1893, it was resolved to create a permanent church on the site, with greater capacity. A design was drawn up by Thomas Frederick Proud, and the first part of the building, comprising chancel, south chapel and two bays of the nave, was completed in 1894. The church was later extended to the west in two further phases, completed by the end of 1898. The church was embellished over the following decades: a window by Bertram Lamplugh of the Birmingham School of Art in 1907; rood beam and screens to the north and south chapels and the creation of a Lady Chapel in 1910-12; and new reredos to the high altar in 1921. After the destruction of the mother church of All Saints, the parish was divided between St Aidan and the parish's other mission, St Gregory the Great. In 1994, as the surrounding parishes had dwindled so much, the decision was taken to amalgamate St Aidan, St Oswald, St Gregory and St Andrew into a single parish, centred on the former St Aidan's site. The church was renamed All Saints to reflect the incorporation of the other parishes. Between 1999 and 2001, the church building underwent an extensive scheme of reordering and alteration, based on the reorientation of the space by 180 degrees, creating a new sanctuary in the former west baptistery and a new entrance at the east end, through the former sanctuary. The chancel arch was glassed in, and a new hall created at first-floor level above the former chancel. The adjacent clergy house, which had been built in 1904 to a design by Arthur Dixon, was converted at the same time to provide services for the church and office accommodation.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The Anglican Church of All Saints, Small Heath, is designated at Grade II*, for the following principal reasons:
* The church, constructed in 1893-8 to designs by Thomas Proud, is a very large and highly-accomplished building in a Perpendicular style
* Known as The Cathedral of the Back Streets, the church is an excellent example of the quality and sophistication of the best building in brick and terracotta which was prevalent in Birmingham in the later C19
* The enormously lofty interior space displays excellent planning and spatial qualities, enhanced by the vertical emphasis of the Perpendicular tracery in the clerestory
* The interior displays well-crafted and intricate detailing, with a wealth of decorative terracotta work and elaborate timber roof structures
* The quality of artistic embellishment is very good, with an important rood beam and Lady Chapel screen by Frederick Bligh Bond, glass by Bertram Lamplugh of the Birmingham School of Art, and more by John Hardman of Hardman and Co
* Although the church was completely reorientated in 1999-2001, with the former west baptistery becoming the new sanctuary, the east end partly ceiled and extended to create a new porch, entrance hall and meeting room, these changes have not badly damaged the spatial coherence of the church and all its most important elements are still in place

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.