St Catherine of Sienna, Lowton

Weightman & Bullen  1957

Lowton is near Golborne, Lancashire, in the old South Lancashire coalfield area, off the East Lancs Road a few miles west of Leigh. I guess that the local authority is Warrington Borough Council which is technically now in Cheshire. It seems to be in the RC Archdiocese of Liverpool. St. Catherines is due to close because of the ‘poor state of electrical systems’.

The church is briefly described by Richard Pollard on page 516 of the Lancashire: Liverpool and the South-west Pevsner. He says that St Catherine’s is “the first centrally planned Roman Catholic church in SW Lancashire, its design contains elements that would reappear in modified form at subsequent churches such as St Ambrose, Speke [grade 2 listed but vulnerable}. Hexagon plus detached open-framed concrete belfrey tower over the baptistery, the two joined by a lobby”.

The parochial website is a here . The home page has documents relating to the proposed closure on the grounds of electrical wiring maintenance costs.

C20 Roman Catholic churches in the former manufacturing districts are being closed at a startling rate as the Church seems to be undergoing an existential crisis of membership, costs and restructuring. I’ve suggested that EH undertakes an urgent review of C20 RC churches like St Catherine’s. Some of these churches (e g St Raphael’s, Stalybridge) contain splendid artworks. St Catherine’s, Lowton, sounds like another one.

Aidan Turner-Bishop

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