St Barnabas Church has many beginnings:
The first can be dated to 1870 when, on 1 May of that year,
the Revd John Gouldie French was ordained a Curate to help the Vicar of St
James’ Church, the Revd Septimus Gooday.
Gouldie French was given a series of projects to show his
mettle. One was to conduct cottage meetings in different parts of the
parish. He was soon renting a room in Back Marsh Street, just off Lees
Road. This location was demolished some years after the Second World War.
The Vicar soon started a Sunday School
then, later, regular Sunday Evening Services.
Sunday school on Back Marsh Street started in January 1883. Tenders for building
were accepted in April of that year. The corner stone was laid in July; and, as far
as can be discerned, the name of St Barnabas was first used soon afterward
in of that same year. The building formally opened on 11 June 1884.
After its first foundation, work
continued for 28 years until 1909. St James’ Parish had grown to such large
proportions that the Saint James’ new Vicar, the Revd Henry F Walker,
inaugurated a scheme to form a new Parish. In particular, he wanted it to
include the rapidly growing district of Clarksfield. The boundaries of the
new Parish would be: Lees Road, Cow Lane, Dunkerley Street, Huddersfield
Road, Spring Street, The Cemetery, and Clarksfield Road.
The family of
the late Colonel Edward Brown Lees (of the extensive Lees family of
Clarksfield House on Kelverlow Street) donated a site on
which to build the new Church. It provided room for Church, Sunday School
and Vicarage. The Diocese approved the scheme shortly afterwards, in 1907.
Much of the
money for the new Church came from those worshipping in Back Marsh Street.
In 1910, a sum of £1,500 was assigned for the building of a new Church
School, which was the foundation of the present Parish. The foundation
stone was laid on 25 November 1911 and opened on 20 July 1912. A fund to build a separate Church was
interrupted by the First World War, so St Barnabas remained a Mission
Church of Saint James’.
Church was intended as a multi-purpose building. It was a Church on Sundays
for Christian worship. It would also have housed worship on special days,
particularly Christmas and Whit. But during the majority of the week, it
was a Hall for a working-men’s club, temperance meetings and a wide array
of small projects, all aimed at self-improvement.
St Barnabas became a Conventional
District in 1924, meaning the Parish was separated distinct from Saint
James’. The Revd G K Knowlson
(left) became the first Priest-in-Charge of the parish.
Church commissioned Robert Martin of Manchester to convert old St Barnabas into
a Church complex. This plan was adapted a great man times. The final
version (below) was completed in 1932. Thereafter, a building that had
served as a combined Church and Parish Hall now became the Church proper;
and a new Parish Hall was built immediately adjacent. The present Church
was dedicated by the Lord Bishop of Manchester, the Rt
Revd Dr Guy Warman on 27
The new parish
new Parish quickly found its feet and took its place in the life and work
of the Deanery and Diocese. The pews, font, altar table and choir stalls
all came from the defunct Church of Saint Michael, Angel Meadow,
Manchester; and other items of furniture came as gifts from friends.
Indeed, throughout its life the Church has always been fortunate in its
29 May 1958, the Parish Hall was completely gutted by
fire. Within a year, the Church had received £7,217 (then a vast fortune)
to re-build the Parish Hall. It was consecrated on St Barnabas Day, Sunday 11 June 1961,
and was officially opened on 20 January 1962 when the Lord Bishop of Hulme,
the Rt Revd Kenneth Ramsey, laid the foundation stone.
Vicars of St Barnabas’ Church