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St Ambrose's Church, Speke
Coordinates: 53°20′25″N 2°49′37″W / 53.3402°N 2.8269°W / 53.3402; -2.8269
Location Heathgate Avenue, Speke, Liverpool, Merseyside
Country England
Denomination Roman Catholic
History
Status Parish church
Architecture
Functional status Active
Heritage designation Grade II
Designated 16 November 2007
Architect(s) Alfred Bullen
Architectural type Church
Style Modernist
Groundbreaking 1959
Completed 1961
Specifications
Materials Reinforced concrete and brick
Administration
Diocese Archdiocese of Liverpool
Clergy
Priest(s) Revd Edward Cain

St Ambrose's Church is a Roman Catholic parish church in Heathgate Avenue, Speke, Liverpool, Merseyside, England. It is an active parish church in the Archdiocese of Liverpool and the Pastoral Area of Woolton and Halewood. The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building.

History

The church was built between 1959 and 1961. It was designed by Alfred Bullen of Weightman and Bullen, with assistance from Jerzy Faczyński. It was built to serve the housing estate of Speke, which had been started in the 1930s, and which was expanded in the 1950s.

Architecture

Exterior

The church is built on a reinforced concrete frame, with cladding in brick. It has a rectangular plan with a free-standing sanctuary. To the north is a campanile 84 feet (26 m) high, joined to the body of the church by a low entrance range. To the south of the church is a Lady Chapel, also joined to the rest of the church by a low range. The body of the church is surrounded by tapering concrete pilasters. Between the pilasters, the lower part is in brick, and the upper part is glazed. The windows have curved heads, forming an arcade around the building. The campanile is in brick, and divided by concrete bans into four stages. The top stage contains a bell, and is open between mullions. Surmounting the campanile is an illuminated cross.

Interior

Inside the church are tunnel vaults on three sides with a segmental arcade carried on square columns; this forms an ambulatory. The roof is flat and trabeated, with pyramidal acoustic panels. The floor is in terrazzo, with the sanctuary area raised and in marble. A stone altar slab stands on three steps, and is flanked by a font and a pulpit. There are pews on three sides of the sanctuary. The organ is in a raised position above the entrance. Around the church are Stations of the Cross by Adam Kossowski. The stained glass is by Gounil and Philip Brown. Wall paintings behind the altar date from the 1990s. The pipe organ has two manuals, and was made by Rushworth and Dreaper.

Appraisal

The church was designated as a listed building on 16 November 2007. It is listed at Grade II, which is the lowest of the three grades, and includes buildings that "are nationally important and of special interest". The listing description states that the building is "on an unusually broad and ambitious scale that is relatively little altered". Pollard and Pevsner in the Buildings of England series are of the opinion that the church is the best building on the Speke estate, "though it is unshakeably redolent of a sports hall and boiler chimney". The church claims to be the first Roman Catholic church in England to be completed to a rectangular plan with a free-standing altar.

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