Cycling around Wythenshawe one sunny day yesterday, in search of friends old and new, I found myself beside myself, beside St Luke’s.
1938-9 by Taylor and Young. Light brown brick in English garden wall bond (roof concealed). Modern functionalist style. Nave with west tower, north and south aisles with porches and side offices, short chancel. Rectangular tower to same width as nave, with short triangular buttresses flanking a square-headed doorway, plain wall except for very large geometrical-floral clock, parapet and very low set-back louvre stage with steeply-pitched hipped roof. Flat-roofed aisles have projected triangular west ends flanking tower, a projected porch at each end of north aisle and corresponding projected offices to south aisle, and very small star-shaped windows with pentagonal surrounds. Nave has 7 pairs of tall square-headed lancets. Short one-bay chancel has concrete cross in place of east window. Interior: basilican character, with low passage-aisles, chamfered piers terminating with lights, flat concrete-beamed ceiling; side-lit chancel with relief figures of angels.
Those are the facts – the fabulous thing is the clock, a playful lesson in geometry, surface and colour, and it keeps time as well.
Wythenshawe is awash with modern churches and this pale brick giant is hard to miss dominating the Brownley Road junction, built to serve the then ever expanding housing estate to the south west of Manchester.
Brownley Road flats
I love the playful touches which offset the monolithic volumes of St Luke’s – go ahead take a look inside:
Mr Turner came here way back when,
The same sea lapped a different shore,
A gallery stands where he passed,
If passing pop in,
Or wander the perimeter in search of a sense,
Of well being, or otherwise,
Seeking a link with some not too distant past,
When a different sea lapped the same shore.