Designed by early Gothicist Thomas Rickman, St Barnabas' Church was the third Commissioner's church to be built in Birmingham. Consecrated in 1824 as a chapel of Aston Church, it became a parish church only in 1858. Severely damaged by fire in October 2007, the church has been extensively rebuilt.
St Barnabas' Church photographed from Church Road in January 2007 by Edward Hunt. Image downloaded from Geograph - http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/304580 and reusable under Creative Commons licence Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).
St Barnabas' Church website
Find the website of St Barnabas' Church at - http://stbarnabaserdington.org.uk/.
See A Church near You - http://www.achurchnearyou.com/erdington-st-barnabas/.
You might also be interested in - A History of Birmingham Places & Placenames . . . from A to Y - Erdington - http://billdargue.jimdo.com/placenames-gazetteer-a-to-y/places-e/erdington/.
Press function key F5 to refresh the map.
Above: Erdington 1844. Image courtesy of the Mapseeker website - http://www.mapseeker.co.uk/ - use permitted for non-commercial purposes. The complete map is available to buy as a print.
St Barnabas’ Church was the third church in Birmingham to be funded by the Church Commissioners.
As Commissioners' churches were generally built to cater for booming populations such as in central Birmingham, this seems a strange choice of location. In the first quarter of the 19th century Erdington was still a small village centre with perhaps a couple of dozen houses along and around the High Street. It was only two miles from the parish church at Aston, and although the river Tame was subject to flooding in the winter months, there had been a bridge at Salford since the 13th century.
The site for the church was given by Earl Howe, who owned extensive estates in and around Birmingham and Thomas Rickman was chosen to design the building. (For more information on Thomas Rickman and Commissioners’ churches see St George’s Hockley and the Glossary.)
Rickman designed the church in Decorated Gothic style with a chancel, nave, transepts, and tower built in stone. St Barnabas’ was consecrated in 1824 as a chapel of ease of St Peter and St Paul's, Aston. It cost £5000 to build, £1000 of which was raised by public subscription.
The church was served by curates of Aston until it was given its own parish in 1858. The church was enlarged with a new chancel and transepts in 1883 by J A Chatwin, also in decorated gothic, but the west tower and nave still remain of Rickman's original. It was re-ordered internally in 1986 with church rooms being built on a glazed gallery at the west end.
In 2007 a major fire destroyed the roof and virtually all the internal fittings of the church.
St Barnabas’ was known for its eight stained glass windows depicting scenes of the life of Jesus and stories from the Bible, including the Raising of Lazarus, The Resurrection, The Good Samaritan and St Paul and St Barnabas, which were also designed by Thomas Rickman. All but one were destroyed in the fire.
Image above of the lost windows from the Birmingham Mail website 4 October 2007 - http://icbirmingham.icnetwork.co.uk/mail/news/tm_headline=church-is-gutted-in-blaze-with-video%26method=full%26objectid=19895289%26siteid=50002-name_page.html.
While the building was being restored the congregation met in a number of venues until the reopening in June 2012.
The year after the church was opened a single 12-cwt tolling bell cast by Thomas Mears of Whitechapel was hung in the tower. In 1890 a set of tubular bells was installed, but these did not last long and were installed at Water Orton church, where they no longer remain. The tubes and the single bell were replaced in 1904 by a ring of eight cast by Taylor’s of Loughborough and given in memory of Mary Proctor Ryland, who had died the previous November. The bells, which are noted as the first scientific true-harmonic ring to be installed in Birmingham, were rehung on ball bearings by Taylor’s in two stages in 1946 and 1959. The tower and bells were not damaged by the fire.
Above: Photographs of Erdington Church in 2006 by the late Keith Berry who allowed this author to use his copyrighted work. Images must not be reused without permission. See his collection on PBase - http://www.pbase.com/beppuu/erdington. Click to enlarge.
See the archaeological desk-based assessment, part of the planning application for rebuilding and extending the church by Stoke-on-Trent Archaeology for Brownhill, Hayward Brown (Architects) Ltd - http://eplanning.birmingham.gov.uk/Northgate/DocumentExplorer/documentstream/documentstream.aspx?name=public:0901487a80a54534.pdf&unique=384189&type=eplprod_DC_PLANAPP.
For artist's impression of the rebuild see Simon Felton's Birmingham Central Blogspot - http://birminghamcentral.blogspot.com/search/label/Erdington.
See now Aidan McRae Thompson's photographs of the reopened church on Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=24141292@N02&q=barnabas.
Acknowledgements - For information about the bells I've used Mike Chester's website Church Bells of Warwickshire - http://www.warksbells.co.uk/erdington.htm.
This is a Grade II listed building whose record can be found on the
Historic England website - https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1076299.
William Dargue 10.03.2012