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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Greater Manchester

by Peter Kessler, 2 October 2019. Updated 6 October 2020

Manchester Part 1: Churches of Rusholme & Didsbury

Catholic Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, Rusholme, Manchester

The Catholic Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, Rusholme stands at the north-east corner of Oxford Road and Ackers Street, at the heart of the University of Manchester. It was designed by Joseph A Hansom and built between 1869 and 1871. The tower, designed by Adrian Gilbert Scott, was erected in 1928 in memory of Fr Bernard Vaughan. Not a parish church, it is managed by members of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) for the university community in Manchester.

Unitarian Platt Chapel, Rusholme, Manchester

Platt Unitarian Chapel, Rusholme, is on the western side of Wilmslow Road, about twenty metres north of the Old Hall Lane junction. Nonconformists, ejected from the Presbyterian St James Church at Birch-in-Rusholme in 1697, met in private houses until this chapel opened in 1700. The teaching here became Unitarian during the 1700s, and road-widening in 1909 removed part of the burial ground. The chapel closed in 1970 and now provides a business premises.

Emmanuel Church, Didsbury, Manchester

Emmanuel Church, Didsbury, is inside the v-shape formed by the Wilmslow Road and Barlow Moor Road junction. It was built in 1858 by Starkey and Cuffley, but was extensively re-modelled in 1986. A parish centre stands behind it while the interior was reordered, with café and crèche facilities featuring a William Morris glass in the south transept window. The main building, though, suffers from apparently poor build quality, notably water ingress and slipped tiles.

Church of St James, Didsbury, Manchester

St James' Church, Didsbury, is on the south side of Stenner Lane, at the corner alongside The Didsbury restaurant and pub. Claimed as the second-oldest church in Manchester, it has roots that go back to 1235. Albertus de Gresley granted land to Nicholas de Longford, lord of the manor of Withington, for the foundation of his own chapel in Didsbury. The chapel is noted in the Lancashire Assizes when 'William, Chaplain of Didsbury, came not on the first day and was fined'.

Church of St James, Didsbury, Manchester

That original chapel is believed to have been an oratory. Rebuilding took place in the 1600s, which included the erection of today's red sandstone 'dumpy' tower of 1620. Further rebuilding took place across the 1800s: the nave (1855), chancel (1871), and east half of south aisle (1895). Its interior underwent significant repair and renovation in 2012 as part of its anniversary celebrations (from 1237). The Mosley family have some impressive funerary monuments in the grounds.

Two photos on this page kindly contributed by Yelena Stockport, and three by Jo Lewis via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group. Additional information by Yelena Stockport.



Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original feature for the History Files.