Building operations on the new Roman Catholic Church at Skegness have now been completed, and the church, which will take the place of the existing Church of the Sacred Heart on Grosvenor Road, will be blessed and officially opened by the Bishop of Nottingham on Sunday, July 30th.
Erected and furnished at a cost of approximately £10,000, the new building, which is also dedicated to the Sacred Heart, is situated near the old church and fronts on to Grosvenor Road. It was built on the piece of ground to the west of the presbytery, which now stands between the two buildings.
The new church was needed because the old building can only accomodate a maximum congregation of 130, and the large influx of visiting Catholics during the summer, plus the increasing numbers of local Catholics, has led to overcrowding in recent years. Last season the Rev. Father T. O’Keeffe, the parish priest, was forced to hold five Masses every Sunday morning, so great was the number of holiday-makers in the town.
The original church, erected in 1898, will, after the opening of the new building, be converted into a church hall.
Approximately 90ft. long, the new church is designed to seat a congregation of 350. Building operations began last September, and it had been originally hoped that the church would be finished in time to be opened on the Festival of the Sacred Heart (June 18th), but two delays caused by the difficulty of obtaining bricks and steel prolonged the work. The foundations were laid by December, and on December 15th the Bishop of Nottingham laid and blessed the foundation stone.
The building work has been carried out by a Skegness firm, and the new church is constructed throughout of Skegness-made bricks.
Of a simple but striking design, the church is a magnificent piece of brickwork in Flemish bond. The plain front is divided from Grosvenor Road by a wide pavement, and is relieved by stonework around the doorway. A set of three mullioned windows are grouped over the door, and between these and the roof is a small alcove in which will be placed at some future date a statue of the Sacred Heart. The inverted “V” shape gable is surmounted by a stone cross.
A strikingly effective and rather unusual feature of the building is provided by the 19 leaded windows, the design for which was selected by Father O’Keeffe. The design consists of a bold cross backed by a ray pattern in contrasting colours, from deep amber to a very pale blue, symbolising the Glory of the Cross.
The special suspended ceiling, which has a panelled finish with false beams, in which has been incorporated concealed “daylight” type lighting, is an imposing piece of work.
The floor, also of the most modern design, is made of a special composition which is hardly distinguishable from Terrazzo marble, and has a colour scheme of light green and pale red, with black borders. A simple bold cross design is included in the floor panel in front of the altar gates.
The altar rails and pulpit are in cream Travertine marble with green Terrazzo columns, and there is a bronze cross in the centre of each of the wrought-iron altar gates. Pure Travertine makes up the steps and the altar table is in cast stone. The whole is surmounted by a domed canopy on four pillars. There are two sacristies—one for the priest and one for the altar boys.
The small entrance porch is hung with solid oak doors, leading to a pair of swing doors also in oak.
Worked in York stone, the font is a memorial to the late Father C. B. Croucher, and was subscribed to by parishioners and friends.
The general interior colour scheme is light stone with an ivory ceiling, and the roof is made of Westmorland blue-green slate. Central heating radiators are . I by a large gas boiler, which can also take solid fuels.
Seating will be of waxed oak finished chairs, with folding up- holstered kneelers, prayer book rests, and hat racks underneath.
The new church will be blessed and opened by the Rt. Rev Edward Ellis, Bishop of Nottingham, on Sunday July 30th. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. and will consist of the blessing the Church, followed by Solemn High Mass, at which the Bishop will preach. The music of the Mass will be sung by a choir of priests, and the [?]brant will be the parish priest. Father O’Keeffe The afternoon’s ceremony will commence at four o’clock, when the Blessed Sacrament will be removed in solemn procession from the old church to the new. The procession will proceed from the old church along Roman Bank, by Lincoln Road, Dorothy Avenue and Grosvenor Road to the new church. The preacher in the afternoon will be the Very Rev. B. Grimley, of Boston, and afterwards there will be a reception and tea at the Secondary Modern School.
- The Blessed Sacrament being removed from the old church, with the Lord Bishop behind it.