Carrs Lane Church Centre, completed in 1970, was designed by Messrs Denys Hinton and Partners. (His obituary in The Times on April 3 2010 said “Denys Hinton was one of the pioneers of a Modernist form of church architecture that thrived in Britain from the early 1960s.”)
It received a Civic Trust Award in 1972. Built of engineering bricks to reflect the industrial city, the austere but dramatic exterior hides a welcoming and comfortable interior.
The Carrs Lane Cross by the main entrance, over-looking Moor Street Queensway, is the largest free-standing Cross in the country. It is made of CorTen steel, which over years has formed a black coating, preventing further rusting.
The Church Room and Organ
The worship space is large and simply appointed, as befits a non-conformist church. It is light, open and spacious, seating 350 (including the balcony). The comfortable seating is in sets of two or three chairs and easily moveable, like all the furniture except the stage and cross. The room is therefore very flexible.
Its features include:
- a large platform, approached by two steps or a side ramp.
- a tall plain wooden sanctuary cross, providing a focus for worship.
- a three-manual organ by Hill, Norman & Beard and grand piano
- a contemporary brass font – designed and made in 1970 by a young church member (moveable).
- Plaques from the previous building are displayed on a wall at the back of the room, commemorating the service of some past ministers and members. They include a World War I memorial.
The Main Foyer and Works of Art
The Main Foyer is on the upper ground floor, giving access to Reception, the Church Room, the Fair Trade Shop, and the Quiet Room; and to the stairs to other floors. It was extensively refurbished in 2008, to be much lighter and to have better Reception and Shop areas.
There are several Works of Art, in contrasting styles:
- Statue of Dr R W Dale (1897) by Edward Onslow Ford, a fine marble commemorating the famous 19th century minister of Carrs Lane Chapel.
- A Mural in Nails (1971) by Edward Bawden, CBE, RA, commemorating previous chapel buildings and ministers, is on the north wall.
- The Dance of Life mural (1993), by a group of Nicaraguan artists who created it at the Church Centre, is on permanent loan from Oxfam, who sponsored it.