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09th September 2014

St Agatha’s: A tale of beauty and survival!

On 20th July Katy was welcomed into St Agatha’s Church, an iconic grade 1 listed building for Anglo-Catholic worship, which is situated on Stratford Road in Sparkbrook. Completed in 1901, it was funded by the sale of Christ Church on New Street in the city centre, which was demolished to make way for a new development of shops and offices, where Victoria Square is now located.

It was designed by the local architect William H Bidlake, and is often thought to be his masterpiece, with the design merging elements of both the Gothic Revival Style and the Arts and Crafts movement. The church’s tower is 120 feet high, and adds to an impressive marker to the skyline of the surrounding area, with many locals using it as a point of reference.

The church has survived several disasters, including the bombing of its Eastern window in 1940, the destruction of the nave roof in 1959 (which is thought to have been the result of a fire started accidently by a chorister), and damage to its roof during the 2005 tornado. Luckily in the latter case, the church had undertaken major restoration work from 2002 and 2005, and it is believed that this helped stop the roof being completely destroyed, unlike the building’s neighbour, Ladypool Primary school, which had its tower destroyed by the same tornado.

The Church has also seen many changes to its congregation over the last 70 years, reflecting the diversity of the communities who have entered Sparkbrook over time. Some of the congregation have moved to Hall Green but still make the journey back to the church every Sunday for Holy Communion and to meet their friends.

Sampad is excited to be working with this welcoming and friendly church, and we hope over time to unravel some of the memories and historical treasures stored both by the congregation and the church building itself.

St Agatha's from front

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