The Foundation Stone of our church was laid on May 16th 1936 and the church was Consecrated on November 20th 1937.


These are the stories of  two important events in the life of our church.

                                LAYING OF THE FOUNDATION STONE


         The Foundation Stone of the church of St. Faith and St. Laurence,  was laid on Saturday May 16th by Lady Anstruther-Gough- Calthorpe, who had given the site on which the building will stand.

         The procession to the site was impressive. The Rural Dean read David's song of thanksgiving as a lesson.

            The Vicar (the Rev. W. G. Sissions) invited the Bishop to " bless the work to which we have set our hands."  The Bishop enquired of the Archdeacon of Birmingham if he was “satisfied that the work here about to be taken in hand is altogether and in every way according to the honour due to our Blessed Lord and His Church.” The Archdeacon replied that he had enquired and was satisfied. After receiving a reply from the churchwardens that they trusted “the people of this place have a mind towards the solemn dignity of this rite, being ready themselves to be builded into a Spiritual Temple for the Lord.” The Bishop invoked blessing upon all “who in any way contribute to its completion; that God will protect from danger those who may be engaged in the building, and that He will send His blessing upon our undertaking.”

        The sermon was preached by Canon Lucas, who was Curate of St. Faith's 20 years ago. Canon J.C.Lucas said he was glad to see a dream of many years ago beginning to come true. Twenty years ago he was Priest-in-Charge of St. Faith’s, and he knew something of the desire of the people for a permanent church. The first plans for the building were produced in 1907 by Messrs. J.A.Chadwin and Son, the present architects, but the Great War hindered the fulfilment of the project. It was fitting that the bulk of the money for the first part of the building should have been provided by part of the war memorial fund raised by members of Harborne Parish Church.

     Then the stone was laid. One of the intriguing things about this, was the burial of documents in the wall. The foundation is of brick, and a small cavity was left where the stone would be laid and the documents laid in, sealed in two little lead cylinders rather like large flash lamp batteries. A slate was fitted over and carefully cemented all round. Then Lady Calthorpe took the trowel and laid cement on the slate and the great stone was slowly levered on to it and so into position.

          In the bottle laid by Mr. Collins as Secretary of the Church Council under the stone, there were coins of the Realm, a copy of the  Birmingham Post, copies of the Parish Magazine, and a copy of the day's ceremony. The collection amounted to £77 l4s. 6d., evidence that there were a large number of well wishers.



  REPORT IN ‘HARBORNE NEWS’ – NOVEMBER 20th 1937


NEW HARBORNE CHURCH


TO BE DEDICATED BY BISHOP


TODAY’S  BIG OCCASION AFTER 40 YEARS


        Situated in a Harborne area which is growing rapidly, the new church of St. Faith and St. Laurence, at the junction of Croftdown Road and Balden Road is to be dedicated by the Bishop of Birmingham, Dr. E.W.Barnes, today.

        The hopes of forty years will be fulfilled; a need which has grown steadily greater as the years have passed will be met; the clergy and laity alike will see the concrete reward of their labours. Harborne will be the better and within the village, there will be a centre around which a new and virile district will grow.

             Almost forty years have passed since the question of a Church for the Queen’s Park district of Harborne was first raised, for it was at the end of the 19th century that Canon W. J. Price, the then vicar of Harborne, expressed his concern that there was no place of worship in that developing residential district.


                  REPORT IN ‘HARBORNE NEWS’ – NOVEMBER 27th 1937


Of the hundreds of people who arrived for the Consecration of the new  church of St. Faith and St. Laurence on Saturday, many had to be turned away. Throughout the service many stood in the small entrance hall to the church, and before he delivered his address, the Bishop of Birmingham  (Dr. E.W. Barnes) asked them to come forward and sit at the foot of the altar. “I am sure that no one will think it irreverent” he remarked.

              The simple lines of the new church are greatly enhanced by the plain manner of the furnishings. The dull brickwork finds its complement in the shining new wood of the pews and doors, the length its match in the height of the edifice.

Clergy present in addition to the Bishop of Birmingham were the Ven.C. E. Hopton, Archdeacon of Birming­ham, the Ven. J. H. Richards, Arch­deacon of Aston, the Rev. R. D. Richardson, Vicar of Harborne, and the Rev. W. C. Sissons, incumbent of the parish of St. Faith and St. Laurence.

            The Holy Table, the Font, the Lectern and the Pulpit having been consecrated  in  turn, the Bishop directed that the sentence of consecration should be read aloud by the Clerk of the Diocese. The Bishop then ordered that the documents should be enrolled and preserved in the Registry of the Diocese. The consecration, said the Bishop represented at least a third of a century of effort, for it was almost exactly thirty three and a third years ago that the Mission Hall of St.Faith was dedicated by the then Bishop of Lichfield. Harborne belonged to Staffordshire in origin and was formerly part the Diocese of Lichfield.



OUR CHURCH BUILDING


   Our church in an Arts and Crafts-influenced Romanesque style, designed by P B Chatwin and built in two phases, 1937-8 and 1958-60. The building is prominently located on the corner of Croftdown Road and Balden Lane as part of a planned suburban development in Harborne.

MATERIALS: The church is constructed from soft brown brick, laid in a variation on Flemish Garden Wall bond, with slate roofs, and the interior is a combination of brick and whitewashed concrete.

PLAN: The church is orientated north west-south east, though ritual compass points are used throughout this description. It comprises porch, nave, chancel, west tower, south-east Lady Chapel and north-east vestries, and has a modern church hall and associated facilities to the north.

EXTERIOR: The exterior is in a robust, Romanesque style, the brick elevations set on a moulded brick plinth; there is a brick dentil frieze to the eaves and plain brick pilasters expressing the bay structure of the long elevations. There are round-arched triple lancets to the aisles, and groups of three similar windows with a taller central element to the clerestory. All the windows have surrounds made from concave-moulded brick. The chancel is set slightly below the roof line of the nave. The east end is apsidal, with a string course along the cills of the clerestory windows; the ground floor is rectangular on plan, with a canted first floor, and hipped roofs to the outshuts thus created. The broad, square tower has a pyramidal roof, round-arched openings and diaper work in the upper stage. The main entrance, at the base of the tower, has double plank doors with elaborate scrolled strap hinges, set into a round-arched doorway with stone dressings and a stone-faced tympanum. The attached single-storey vestries are similar in design to the main body of the church. To the north is a later C20 church hall, added in a sympathetic style, largely detached from the church, leaving the north elevation intact. This part of the building is not of special interest.

INTERIOR: The interior is a mixture of brick and plastered concrete; the five-bay arcades are formed from plain, round arches rising from square piers of reinforced concrete. The piers also serve as springers from which rise solid, semicircular diaphragm arches supporting the roof, which is ceiled at collar level, and has applied box decoration. The clerestory windows are set within exposed brick lunettes, and the aisle walls are similary in exposed brick. The west gallery, pews, pulpit and all other timber work are in a warm, light oak. The floors are parquet, apart from those in the porch and narthex, which are red tile. The octagonal stone font is set at the west end of the north aisle. The panelled, octagonal, timber pulpit is set at the foot of the chancel arch on the north side. The chancel has a polygonal east end, supported on a square base, with round arches to the niches thus created, each of which has a small stained glass window. The main windows to the chancel are at clerestory level: short double lancets, with stained glass decoration. The Lady Chapel, to the east end of the south aisle, has stained glass by Hardman, and is divided from the body of the church by part-glazed timber screening. The windows above the altar depict the Nunc Dimittis, The Magnificat and the Holy Family, with side windows showing scenes from the Parables. The aisle windows have stepped brick surrounds with chamfered cills. The windows to the north aisle have stained glass decoration arranged in triptychs depicting scenes from the life of Christ. Those to the south aisle have depictions of saints, including St Faith and St Laurence. The clerestory windows have small, rectangular panes of plain glass with margin glazing, as does the large west window.

SOURCES: Andy Foster, Pevsner Architectural Guides: Birmingham (2007), 186
Nikolaus Pevsner and Alexandra Wedgwood, The Buildings of England: Warwickshire (1966), 185
History of the County of Warwick (Victoria County History), Volume 7: City of Birmingham (1964), 387


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