St Thomas' Church, Birmingham

St Thomas' Church, Bath Row, is a former Church of England parish church in Birmingham.

St Thomas' Church
St Thomas' Peace Garden, Birmingham, UK.jpg
The surviving tower and portico
Coordinates: 52°28′24″N 1°54′54.22″W / 52.47333°N 1.9150611°W / 52.47333; -1.9150611
LocationBirmingham
CountryEngland
DenominationChurch of England
History
DedicationThomas the Apostle
Consecrated22 October 1829
Architecture
Architect(s)Thomas Rickman
StyleNeoclassical
Groundbreaking22 October 1826
Completed1829
Demolished1940 (partial)
Specifications
Capacity800 people

HistoryEdit

It was built as a Commissioners' church. The foundation stone of the church was laid by Folliott Cornewall, Bishop of Worcester, on 22 October 1826 and the church was built to designs of the architect Thomas Rickman at a cost of £14,220 (equivalent to £1,203,566 in 2019) and consecrated by Cornewall on 29 October 1829.[1][2] It was for a time the largest church in Birmingham, seating 2,600.[2]

During the Chartist riots of 1839, crowds took railings from around the churchyard to use as pikes.[2]

Part of the parish was taken to form the parish of St Asaph's when this was consecrated in 1868.

It was restored in 1893[3] under the supervision of the architect Frank Barlow Osborn when the old high-back pews and pew platforms were removed, the church was cleaned and renovated, and the organ restored by Walter James Bird of Birmingham, all at a cost of £1,200 (equivalent to £134,075 in 2019).

On the night of 11 December 1940, during World War II, all but the tower and classical west portico was destroyed by German bombs. The parish was united with Immanuel Church, which had closed in 1939, and Immanuel Church was reopened.

The remaining portico and tower have been preserved and are now part of St Thomas' Peace Garden.

RectorsEdit

  • William Marsh 1829–1842
  • Edward Bird 1842–1847 (formerly rector of Tattenhall, Cheshire)[4]
  • George S. Bull 1847–1864 (formerly incumbent at St Matthew's Church, Duddeston and Nechells)
  • Charles Thomas Wilkinson 1864–1870 (formerly incumbent at Attercliffe, Sheffield,[5] afterwards Vicar of St Andrew's Church, Plymouth)
  • Thomas D. Halsted 1870[6]–1888 (formerly Vicar of St Paul's Church, Greenwich, afterwards Vicar of Little Hereford, Tenbury)
  • F. S. Webster 1888–1898
  • Walter George Whicker 1898–1910
  • W. J. Sheppard 1910–1919
  • C. T. Aston 1919
  • J. Bell 1920[7]–1929 (formerly vicar of St Paul's Leyton and St John's Walthamstow, afterwards Vicar of St Mary's Church, Harrogate)
  • Douglas Barton

OrganEdit

A new organ was installed by Bishop of London and opened on 24 November 1837[8] by George Hollins. It was rebuilt and enlarged in 1861 by Mr Bosward[9] when it was equipped with three manuals (choir manual of 8 or 9 stops prepared for) with 12 stops on the Great, 10 on the Swell and 4 on the pedal (1 prepared for). The organ was renovated again in 1893 when three new stops were added by Walter James Bird of Cregoe Street, Birmingham.[10]

OrganistsEdit

  • Mr. Chapman c. 1841 – c. 1849
  • Alfred J. Sutton 1865[11]–1870[12]
  • John Pearce 1870[13]–1882 (formerly organist of St Paul's Church, Birmingham)
  • Paul Smith 1882–1888
  • Alfred Ashdown Box 1888–1928

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "On Thursday night..." Staffordshire Advertiser. Stafford. 31 October 1829. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Thomas T. Harman (1885), Showell's Dictionary of Birmingham: A history and guide, arranged alphabetically: containing thousands of dates and references to matters of interest connected with the past and present history of the town – its public buildings, chapels, churches and clubs – its Friendly Societies and Benevolent Associations, philanthropic and philosophical institutions – its colleges and schools, parks, gardens, theatres, and places of amusement – its men of worth and noteworthy men, manufactures and trades, population, rates, statistics of progress, &c., &c., Cornish Brothers, pp. 237–238, Wikidata Q66438509
  3. ^ "Renovation of St Thomas' Church". Birmingham Daily Post. Birmingham. 7 September 1893. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  4. ^ "It is stated…". Aris’s Birmingham Gazette. England. 1 August 1842. Retrieved 10 January 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  5. ^ "Local News". Birmingham Daily Gazette. England. 4 April 1864. Retrieved 10 January 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  6. ^ "St Thomas's Church, The New Rector". Birmingham Daily Gazette. England. 13 June 1870. Retrieved 10 January 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  7. ^ "New Rector". Birmingham Daily Gazette. England. 12 March 1920. Retrieved 10 January 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  8. ^ "A selection of Sacred Music". Aris’s Birmingham Gazette. England. 20 November 1837. Retrieved 10 January 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  9. ^ "Opening of the Organ in St Thomas's Church". Aris’s Birmingham Gazette. England. 2 February 1867. Retrieved 10 January 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  10. ^ "Renovation of St Thomas's Church". Birmingham Daily Post. England. 7 September 1893. Retrieved 10 January 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  11. ^ "We understand that Mr. A.J. Sutton, conductor of the Birmingham Amateur Harmonic Association, has been appointed Organist of St Thomas's Church". Aris’s Birmingham Gazette. England. 18 February 1865. Retrieved 10 January 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  12. ^ Handford, Margaret (1992). Sounds Unlikely. Six Hundred Years of Music in Birmingham. Birmingham and Midland Institute. p. 174. ISBN 0951442473.
  13. ^ "We understand that Mr. J. Pearce has been appointed Organist of St Thomas's Church in place of Mr. A.J. Sutton resigned". Birmingham Daily Gazette. England. 22 March 1870. Retrieved 10 January 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.