Small Heath

St Oswald of Worcester

No longer a church

Date unknown - posted on Birmingham History Facebook group by Leonard Price
Date unknown - posted on Birmingham History Facebook group by Leonard Price

 

 

 

This fine Grade II* Listed building catered for the rapidly developing district of Small Heath in the late 19th century. 

 

It closed and was sold in 1998; it is now a children's nursery.

 

 

 

In 1882 the church of St Andrew's Bordesley opened an iron mission church on this site in what became known as St Oswald's Road in the rapidly urbansing district of Small Heath.

 

The present building in brick with stone dressing was designed by Birmingham-based architect, W H Bidlake in Early English Gothic style. It comprised a chancel, chapel, vestries, and an aisled nave, was consecrated in 1893 and enlarged at the west end 1899-1900. It was Bidlake's first church design. A parish was assigned out of St Andrew's in 1889. A large tower and spire were projected but never built. 

 

The parish was made part of an ecclesiastical reorganization area in 1946 as a result of the destruction of All Saints', Small Heath by German bombs during the Second World War. 

 

Sr Oswald's church showing the intended tower. Image from St Croix Architecture website where the print may be bought.
Sr Oswald's church showing the intended tower. Image from St Croix Architecture website where the print may be bought.

 

There was an elaborate wooden altarpiece with a painting of the Crucifixion by S Meteyard 1916.

From the 1970s Small Heath underwent dramatic changes. Large numbers of immigrants largely from the Indian sub-continent began to move into the area and there was large-scale demolition and redevelopment of older housing in those parts of Small Heath nearest the City Centre.

 

Congregations attending Anglican churches in Small Heath fell to unsustainable numbers. In the mid-1980s the parishes of St Aidan, St Andrew, St Gregory and St Oswald worked together as a group of parishes. St Andrew's church was demolished in 1985 and in 1992 the three remaining parishes were amalgamated into a single parish. In 1998 it was decided to close St Gregory's and St Oswald's and sell the buildings, the proceeds of which would fund the redevelopment of St Aidan's church which was to be renamed All Saints'. 

St Oswald's church, a Grade II* listed building, is now used as a children's nursery. Bidlake's vicarage behind the church on Dora Road is now part of a scheme of retirement flats.

Weblink

For further information on the Small Heath churches, see the All Saints' church website - http://www.allsaintsonline.co.uk/history

 

William Dargue 15.01.2018