St Luke, Bristol Street
Original church demolished; rebuilt church no longer Church of England; new Anglican church built
St Luke's Church was built in 1842 and has since been rebuilt twice then. The first building in Norman style reflected a renewed interest in medival church architecture, while the present building has been designed to be not only a church but to have multiple uses.
Above: Postcard courtesy of Mac Joseph of Ladywood Past & Present - http://www.oldladywood.co.uk/.
St Luke's Church website
The website of St Luke's Church Centre can be found at - http://www.st-lukes-church-centre.org.uk/.
See also A Church near You http://www.achurchnearyou.com/stlukeschurchcentre/.
Press function key F5 to refresh the map.
Above: Archibold Fullarton's 1866 map of Birmingham. Image courtesy of the Mapseeker website - http://www.mapseeker.co.uk/ - use permitted for non-commercial purposes.
See British History Online for a map of the district around St Luke's in 1890 - http://www.british-history.ac.uk/mapsheet.aspx?compid=55193&sheetid=10102&ox=1253&oy=742&zm=1&czm=1&x=307&y=253.
The first St Luke's - 19th century
In the 1830s and -40s Bristol Street was at the limit of the south-western edge of the town. however the town was expanding rapidly.
Beyond was Edgbaston where the Gough-Calthorpe family exerted strict controls on housing quality and density.
Housing on the Birmingham side was put up with virtually no controls and by the end of the century was densely built, much of it with back-to-back courts.
St Luke's Church on Bristol Street was built in 1842 to serve this district at a cost of £3700, the third of the churches built by the Birmingham Church Building Society (The first two were St Matthew’s and St Mark’s - there never was to be a St John’s). A parish was assigned out of St Martin's the following year.
Designed in Norman style by Harvey Eginton of Worcester, it three aisles, a south-west tower facing Bristol Street with a stone roof and a single bell, and seats for a congregation of up to about 1,000 sittings, 246 of which were free for adults, and 225 for children. Having learned his craft at Worcester Cathedral, Eginton was responsible for designing over 20 churches in Gothic styles mostly in Warwickshire and Worcestershire.
By 1888 the condition of the exterior stonework, presumably sandstone, ha deteriorated considerably. The church was described in a Birmingham guidebook:
The foundation stone of this old Norman-looking church was laid July 29, 1841, but it might have been in 1481 to judge by its present appearance, the unfortunate choice of the stone used in the building giving quite an ancient look.
Thomas T Harman and Walter Showell 1888 Showell's Dictionary of Birmingham - A History And Guide Arranged Alphabetically
The stone used is likely to have been sandstone from not too far away. many Birmingham churches have suffered and still suffer from weathering of this soft rock. The building continued to deteriorate and in 1899 was condemned as unsafe and subsequently demolished. Before a new building was erected the congregation were able to meet in St Luke's mission house in Bromsgrove Street which was licensed for public worship from 1902 and Sunday services were also held locally in 'a combined music hall, toffee factory and skating rink'.
St Luke's rebuilt - 20th century
In 1903 a new church in Perpendicular style was built on the same site at a cost of £6286, this time in brick and stone, designed by Edward Mansell of Temple Row, Birmingham.
The church comprised a chancel, nave, aisles and a south-west tower, the tower of which was removed for safety reasons.
St Luke’s is the only known church to contain the Royal Arms of Edward VII.
After 2003 the building was sold to the Covenant Restoration Assembly - Redeemed Christian Church of God, a church of Nigerian origin.
The 3rd St Luke's - 21st century
The inside of the church was radically altered in the 1980s to provide for more flexible use.
However, the decision was made to move the church to the new Attwood Green estate which was to replace the Lee Bank housing estate on the other side of Bristol Street c2000. Situated next to St Thomas’ CE Primary School in Great Colmore Street, in addition to its church space, the new building now offers a wide range of facilities as a venue for meetings and conferences.
William Dargue 02.04.2012