St Stephen, Newtown Row

Demolished

St Stephen's Church was paid for by the governors of King Edward's Grammar School. Built in 1844 to serve a rapidly developing urban area at the then northern limit of Birmingham, the church was closed and demolished when that district was rebuilt after the Second World War.

 

 

Above: Image courtesy of John Houghton - Aston Brook through Aston Manor website - http://www.astonbrook-through-astonmanor.co.uk/ststephens.html. Contact him for reuse of this image. 


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Map above taken from Archibold Fullarton's 1866 map of Birmingham from the Mapseeker website - use permitted for non-commercial purposes.

The shaded line is the Birmingham boundary, Birmingham being at the bottom of the map, Aston at the top. St Stephen's was just in Birmingham. 

 

St Stephen's can also be found on the  1890 Ordnance Survey map on British History Onlinehttp://www.british-history.ac.uk/mapsheet.aspx?compid=55193&sheetid=10094&ox=2045&oy=1271&zm=1&czm=1&x=287&y=164.

 

St Stephen's Church on Newtown Row was built in 1844 and the street alongside it was later named after the church. At the time it was still surrounded by fields, though they were not to be there for long. Even in 1890 there was still some undeveloped land near the church. The quality of the housing here was poor, terraces and courts of back-to-back houses were crammed together in a district where living conditions declined steadily until after the Second World War when most of the area was designated as slums and demolished. 

 

The church was designed by the nationally known Gothic Revival architect, R C Carpenter in an Early English style and faced with sandstone. The church was a cruciform building with a chancel, nave, aisles, and transepts, and had a small turret. St Stephen's cost £3200 to build. There were seats for 1150 of which 750 were free.

 

The cost of the building was paid by the governors of King Edward's School, who owned extensive land in the area. Payment was made through the Birmingham Church Building Society, which was known as the Ten Churches Fund. It was the 4th church to be built under their auspices.

 

The church was assigned a parish out of thta of St George's which had been built in 1819. St George's parish was taken from that of St Martin's-in-the-Bull Ring. 

 

In 1896 the church was extensively repaired and then completely rebuilt by W H Bidlake in 1910. Prior to the almost total demolition of the area the church closed in 1950, the benefice united with that of St Mary, Aston Brook and the church was subsequently demolished.

 

 

Above: A drawing of the church from a leaflet of 1910 appears on the Church Plans Online website

Left: the old church in course of demolition.   Right: the proposed new building.

 

The leaflet explained that the old church had been built in 1844 of perishable sandstone and was now beyond repair. The cost of a new building would be some £6500 of which £4000 was still wanting. 

 

William Dargue 05.04.2012