New St Paul’s
Once the decision was made to build a new church in 1909, a major fundraising campaign commenced to raise the £8,000 required to start building, which was achieved in just over a year. An architect was appointed (Sir Charles Nicholson), who designed a building costing around £10,000, and the church was completed (except for the tower) in 1912, with the service of consecration taking place on October 26th 1912, attended by 1,200 people. The church was designed to cater for 1,000 people (compared with 450 people in the old church).
The church building has one long roof extending from the tower to the end of the chancel on the east side (the church total length 157 feet, total width 64 feet, height to nave roof 35 feet). The church is built on an incline from south to north and so the West door is higher than the nave, and thus provides an impressive raised baptistry at the West end. As mentioned in the Stained Glass section, light enters the church mainly from a large clerestory of clear glass, as well as clear glass in the aisle windows. There is a lady chapel at the east end of the north aisle, and an organ loft at the south side of the chancel. All the stone is local, the inside walls being made of ashlar from the quarries at Sowerby, and the external walls made of variegated “inside” stones from the quarries of Northowram and Hipperholme. The roof and doors are made of oak. The chancel screen was erected in 1915 to the memory of George Osborne who lost his life serving in the Canadian Forces in the Great War.
Points of Interest – Reredos and High Altar
The Reredos Designed by the architect, was made by Mr Cushman of Essex. It is a representation of the crucifixion, and has in addition to the figures of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St John, those of St Paul (holding the Church in his hand) and St John the Baptist, the Patron Saint of Halifax.
The High Altar A gift from the congregation of the Halifax Parish Church. It has an inscription on a brass plate as follows:
ET IN DIGNIOREM SACR. MYSTERIORUM
HUIC ECCLESIAE PAROCHIALI
ECCL. PRIMARIAE S. JOH. BAPT. FREQUENTATORES
DIVISI JAM FINIBUS EUCHARISTIA CONJUNCTI
“To the greater glory of God, and for the more worthy celebration of the Holy Mysteries, the worshippers of the Mother Church of St John Baptist have given this Altar for this Parish Church, remembering that, though now our boundaries make us two, yet in the Eucharist we are made one. In the year of our salvation 1912.”
Points of Interest – Lady Chapel and Baptistry
The Lady Chapel Has oak screens on the south and west. The altar and pavement and carved chair were gifts at the time of building, and the reredos 12 years later. The Aumbry is in the Lady Chapel, where the Blessed Sacrament is perpetually reserved for the communion of the sick and dying, and those who are unable to communicate at ordinary times.
The Baptistry In front of the West door, the Baptistry houses the stone Font. The Font is octagonal in shape and on the eight sides are carved the designs symbolic of Faith (a Cross), Hope (an Anchor), Charity (a Heart), the Ark, the Holy Trinity, the Shield of Faith, the Sword of the Spirit and the Helmet of Salvation. The Font Cover is made of carved oak and is 9 feet high. It was the gift of the mothers of the parish, and was worked by Mr HP Jackson of Shelf.
DEO SOLI GLORIA