Plas Newton Ln Chester CH2 1SA
Architect: LAG Prichard – Son & Partners 1964/66
I caught the 51 Bus from the Bus Exchange – and the ever so helpful fellow passengers put me off at the right stop.
The church is set back from the road and sands in substantial grounds – visible through the surrounding houses.
A large site at the corner of Plas Newton Lane and Newhall Road was acquired, and a new church designed by the architects LAG Prichard, Son & Partners. The design embodied the ideals of Vatican II, with no seating more than fifty feet from the altar. It was designed for 675 people. The foundation stone was laid in September 1964 by Canon Murphy, and the 115 ft spire lowered into position in December 1964. The first Mass was on 19 December 1965, and the church was officially opened in 1966 by Bishop Grasar. St Columba was the third new Catholic church to be built in Chester after the Second World War.
The only glazing to survive from the original church scheme is small triangles of glazing on the sanctuary elevation and the dalle de verre-style baptistery window by Hans Unger & E Schulze.
Unger & Schulze ran a prominent mosaic and glass studio in London from 1960-74, and provided a large mosaic for another LAG Prichard church in 1965, St Jude’s in Worsley Mesnes – Wigan.
The coloured glazing depicting St Columba, Christ and the apostles was added in 1986.
It is such a striking and dynamic church – angular, very angular.
Let’s take a good look around and about.