Emmanuel Church

A Short History


The Parish of Emmanuel, Southport


The 19th-century parish of North Meols, covering the modern parishes of St. Cuthbert, St. Simon and St. Jude, and Emmanuel (divided in 1905), was growing rapidly. Before his death (1876), Rev. Charles Hesketh, Rector of North Meols, Lord of the Manor and owner of the Hesketh Estate, earmarked the site (on yet-to-be-built Cambridge Road) and chose the name (Emmanuel: “God with us”) for a church. His widow laid the foundation stone on 19th October 1895. Designed by R. Bassnett Preston (Manchester) to seat 1200, and built by Fairbridge & Hatch (Southport), Emmanuel was consecrated by Dr. Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool, on 16th April 1898.


In 1900, Dr. Strickland of Roe Lane paid for the building of a tower with eight bells (the original service bell was situated in a small wooden spire), in memory of his father-in-law, Hinchliffe Hinchliffe. On 19th October 1901, the tower and bells (cast and hung by Taylors of Loughborough) were dedicated by Dr. Chavasse, Bishop of Liverpool. The bells were rehung in 1979.


After the First World War, the south transept was converted into a Memorial Chapel, designed by W. E. Vernon Crompton. It is unfinished: the Vicar (Rev. F. W. Dwelly) insisted that Emmanuel folk should not attempt to complete a chapel they could ill-afford in the hard times of the 1920s. Names of some Emmanuel parishioners who died in World War I are carved on the oak panels; others, with the fallen of World War II, are in a book inside the Cenotaph. The Chapel was redesigned in the 1960s for midweek services.


Nearly all are memorials. The Kirkham family of Roe Lane gave one in the Morning Chapel (Clergy Vestry) in 1899, and another in the Chapel (1931). Nave windows were given by the Duckworth family: one (1904) dedicated to Joseph Duckworth and his son, the first baby baptised in Emmanuel; the other (1935) to his cousin John. The Baptistery windows (1901) are a memorial to Florence Catterall, daughter of an Emmanuel Warden, William Heald, who also gave six clerestory windows and the West Window (1899), which was completely repaired and restored in 2006. The scholars of Brentwood School, who worshipped in Emmanuel for many years, gave two clerestory windows, as did John Duckworth. The Chapel’s east window (1903) was given by Emmanuel congregation in memory of Bishop Ryle. The final Chapel window (1906) was given by Mary Singleton in memory of a friend. Horley. The East Window (1898), the only stained glass window at the church’s consecration, was given by Mrs. Hesketh.

Further details of the windows are in a booklet, available in church.


Emmanuel had a borrowed 2-manual organ, until funds were raised for an electrically-driven 3-manual instrument with a pedal keyboard, made by Harrison & Harrison of Durham. The original organ was sold to a Methodist church in North Shields, which was destroyed by oil-bombs in September 1941. The present organ, overhauled in 1947 and 1975, and rebuilt in 2000, was dedicated on 19th March 1914.


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