The Churches Of The Fylde And Wyre
Those who enjoyed the Churches of Lytham St Annes trip in November last year had an even greater treat in store as we extended our horizons to wider parts of the Fylde and Wyre. This was another great opportunity to learn about the history of church architecture and the diversity of design that can be found in our local churches. St Chads Poulton le Fylde
The format of the trip was once again a whistle-stop tour led by our resident expert Philip Bailey. The churches were a revelation but without Philip to point out many of the outstanding features we wouldn’t have got half so much from the visit.
The tour included Wrea Green Parish Church, three Kirkham Churches, St Michaels on the Wyre, St Helens in Churchtown, St Chads in Poulton and two Blackpool Churches. It covered a vast historical period ranging from the Druids to the present day.
Among other things we discovered that St Michaels on the Wyre is a late medieval church with a blue slate roof above the chancel and nave. St Michaels in Kirkham, built in 1822 by Preston Architect Robert Roper has a 150ft spire added in 1844 by Edward Sharpe.
Our Lady of Lourdes Thanksgiving Shrine in Whinney Heys Road in Blackpool builit in the 1950s by Francis Xavier Verlarde in Portland Stone is a hidden gem that I am sure many of us have driven past without paying it much attention. Now owned by the Historic Chapels Trust who are raising money for its renovation it featured pillars in gold mosaic, a ceiling in red, blue and gold (pictured left) and bronze altar rails with an art deco design.
Philip’s knowledge is impressive and he is entertaining enough to warrant his own TV show. He explained so many aspects of architecture that we all came away having learnt something (though I’m still not sure I can give a coherent account of Picturesque Functionalism!). We stopped mid-tour for an enjoyable lunch at the Grapes at St Michaels and as usual everyone was friendly and sociable. It was a really good day out and I hope we haven’t run out of churches because it left us all wanting more. Thanks again to Philip for allowing us to benefit from his expertise.
Below are photos of this excursion