St David, Bissell Street

Serving the densely populated district of Highgate from the 1860s, St David's was surrounded by back-to-back housing and industry. The chancel overlooked the River Rea. 


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This church appears on the 1890 Ordnance Survey map which can be viewed at British History Online - http://www.british-history.ac.uk/mapsheet.aspx?compid=55193&sheetid=10102&ox=2098&oy=634&zm=1&czm=1&x=582&y=129.

 

Highgate was beginning to be built up during the 1850s; by the time St David's Church was built in 1865 it was a densely packed area of terraces and back-to-back houses which became increasingly interspersed with industry. Built backing on to the River Rea at a cost of £6200, this was a red brick building with stone facings designed by one Mr Martin in the Gothic style; this is likely to have been William Martin of the Birmingham practice of Martin & Chamberlain. The church consisted of chancel, nave, transepts and a tower with a spire and had accommodation for 955 with 785 seats being free. St David's was consecrated in 1865 on a site given by John Nicholls; Lord Calthorpe was also a generous donor to the building fund. A parish was assigned out of St Luke's in 1866.

 

After the Second World War plans were made to demolish the sub-standard housing in Highgate. The area around St David's was zoned for industry as it still is. The church was closed in 1947 and the parish put in the charge of the Vicar of St Luke's.

 

William Dargue 11.02.2013