St Philip & St James
Originally part of the parish of Castle Bromwich, a church was built to serve the developing housing estates of Hodge Hill in the 1940s. The church was closed in 2008 and the building demolished.
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Maps showing the urban development of Hodge Hill from Old Ordnance Maps - http://www.ponies.me.uk/maps/osmap.html and OS New Popular Edition - http://www.npemap.org.uk/ dated 1921 and 1953 respectively, reusable under a Creative Commons licence.
See A Church near You - http://www.achurchnearyou.com/hodge-hill-st-philip-st-james/.
The church's old website is currently (August 2012) still working (although it apears to have gone out of use on 2005 - http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/pjchurch0/Home.html.
As a result of housing development in Hodge Hill after the Second World War, a dual-purpose church/ church hall was built at the top of Hodge Hill Common within the parish of Castle Bromwich.
Plans were drawn up in the 1960s to build a church here and for the existing building to become the church hall. However, in 1966 the building was badly damaged by fire and was subsequently demolished.
In 1968 Birmingham University theologian J G Davies published a book entitled ‘The Secular Use of Church Buildings'. It was, in effect, the manifesto of a movement to build new churches as social centres for the local community, Christian or not, which Christians could also use for worship. Davies stated that
the early Christians did not put their church buildings to secular use, simply because they had no church buildings as such, but the physical location of their particular acts of worship witnessed to their understanding of the unity of sacred and secular in and through Christ - they assembled in private houses.
The new church of St Philip and St James under its architect, Martin Purdy, became the physical expression of that movement. It was designed as a multi-purpose space which could be subdivided by sliding screens to create smaller halls and rooms. In the middle of the building is the sanctuary which cannot be screened and is permanently on view.
The new St Philip's & St James' was opened by Bishop Wilson in 1968.
In 2008 it was deemed that the high cost of repairs to the building was uneconomic and the church was closed. The Anglican congregation moved to share the building of the ‘Blue Cross' United Reform Church on Coleshill Road and St Philip's & St James' church was demolished.
William Dargue 24.12.2011