Saturday, 29 September 2007

Eccles, Manchester.

St Marys, Eccles.

The tower.

The view from the Car Park.

Sanctuary and High Altar.

From the side chapel.

That beautiful Anglican view of box pews with umbrella stands at the end. Bliss.

Most of the pews had 'free' on them here, whether that is a sign of the good people of Eccles being early socialists or just poor, I do not know!

Re-ordered part of the East End.

Eccles lies to the West of Manchester and has never enjoyed the fame which it's location deserves. It is close to Barton Aerodrome, hard by both of the Manchester feeder motorways and at the end of the peculiar new extension to the Metrolink (like a tram, only slower) which stops outside the famous Lamb Hotel, which has one of the most perfectly preserved High Victorian pub interiors in the country, including a spectacular Billiard Room which would not be out of place in a Pall Mall club. However, it is an unremarkable suberb, stuck between being an entity in it's own right or simply part of the general Manchester and Salford urban sprawl, built around a central concrete shopping centre which is unlikely to ever win any awards. However, the town centre is clearly built around the ancient Parish Church, St Mary's, which is set in a well looked after public park elevated slightly above the general bustle of the town. As ever in places which, on the surface, look a bit grim, there is usually some beauty to be found. Think of the bars at Victoria or Stalybridge Stations, havens of architectural wonder in the midst of ugliness or Market Street in Manchester, look up and you will see great beauty above the plastic shop fronts.
Well it is the same for Eccles, I have already mentioned the remarkable Lamb Hotel and St Marys is something of a gem as well, a beautifully preserved English Parish Church in the centre of a concrete shopping centre. It was open this week when I walked past so I popped in and I hope you enjoy the pictures. I was particularly interested in the successful reordering of a part of one of the aisles into a coffee shop, as we are currently looking at ways to find a community space in St Hildas. If we have any Architect readers who would be happy to offer their services for an Eccles Cake and a cup of tea, please make yourselves known! Alas, Eccles Cakes, those pastry and currant based cautiously flavoured delicacies are now made in Ardwick, not Eccles.
Another Green Sunday tomorrow and the continuation of my course on Monday, I will put a post on next week about the interesting building where I am studying and a bit about the course, although I will be among the last year to graduate from it, as the Diocese now uses another, similar course instead, which is based elsewhere.
May God help us always to look under the surface for the hidden beauty of the world which He created. All times and seasons are of His making and all obey His Holy Law. When we lose our inner sight, may God grant us healing through our faults and failures, the chance to reflect, to learn and to grow in His service.