St Raphael Church, Millbrook, Lancs, December 2019

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HughieD

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1. The History
St Raphael the Archangel opened in 1963 after Millbrook was made its own parish five years previously in 1958. The area was originally part of the parish of St Peter’s, Stalybridge. However, following a number of well-attended masses in the canteen of Staley Mill (see earlier report), Millbrook, from 1946 onwards, Bishop John Murphy of Shrewsbury decided to constitute Millbrook as a parish in its own right. The church was designed by Edward Massey and Alan Burton of Massey & Massey (of Warrington). Construction then took just under two years, with the foundation stone being laid on 14th October 1961 by Bishop Murphy, and the official opening by Bishop Grasar on 25th April 1963. The church was dedicated to St Raphael, one of the three Archangels named in the Bible.

The church closed just short of fifty years of service, holding its final mass on 11th July 2011, after an estimated repair bill of an £250,000 could not be met and several parishioners moved to St Joseph’s in nearby Mossley. The church was Grade II listed shortly after its closure in December 2011 for several reasons, most notably its design and the large stained-glass window by Pierre Fourmaintraux.

It has remained empty but went up for sale in June 2017 for £450,000. However, it never sold and has sat slowly deteriorating with a bad roof leak now adding to its problems.

2. The Explore
Visited with Bikin Glyn. Entry was a bit of a challenge. Exit a doddle. Interesting place. Relatively untouched but starting to show the signs of decline. In some ways quite sparse and typical of 60s architecture. The focal points were the dome, the light fittings and the stained glass. Think I prefer my churches more traditional, but this was an interesting first explore on a busy day in Lancashire.

3. The Pictures

Nothing special from the outside:

49279787816_c6f3f1e86c_b.jpgMillbrook 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Love the rectangle light fitting:

49279990537_955f4c5a4e_b.jpgMillbrook 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49279874692_0575ac224b_b.jpgimg4746 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And this one. Very 60s:

49279200048_b7206fb012_b.jpgimg4733 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49279201363_7b724fe988_b.jpgimg4727 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Pretty minimalist. Not too sure what AM stands for. Maybe Archangel Millbrook?

49279990417_469c21a030_b.jpgMillbrook 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49279677326_3e90aed86c_b.jpgimg4729 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49279787191_5a411a7b2c_b.jpgMillbrook 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49279787001_4a670e6f10_b.jpgMillbrook 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49279786831_661f20e321_b.jpgMillbrook 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49279197898_1ce46188f2_b.jpgimg4739 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The rooms off from the main part were showing the greatest signs of decay:

49279311843_1c72ac4568_b.jpgMillbrook 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The stained-glass window by Fourmaintraux is the best bit:

49279200643_1091943503_b.jpgimg4730 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49279673801_7f3998cbd1_b.jpgimg4740 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49279875457_2129bb6edd_b.jpgimg4743 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49279875097_305f1c27d4_b.jpgimg4744 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 

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