Christ Church

A Short History of Christ Church

A. Pilkington


When our Church was built the entrance was via the large West Door which opened on to what is now Princess Road. At that time the road would have been a quiet country lane leading over the River Mersey south towards the leafy lanes of Cheshire.

In contrast, today Princess Road is a main arterial route leading out from the City Centre to the Airport and M56 motorway. Until the late 1920’s the tram journeys from Manchester terminated at Southern Cemetery as, at that time, Wythenshawe was farmland and market gardens. The church is close to the River Mersey and was known as ‘the church in the fields’. These fields later became the Mersey Bank Estate and Barlow Hall Estate, built by Manchester Corporation in the 1930s.

The Church was a gift to the community from Mr. William Roberts of Darleydale, Derbyshire who died on the 3rd August 1888, aged 82, and there’s a window in our Lady Chapel commemorating our generous benefactor. The window depicts the Magi visiting the infant Jesus with one of the wise men carrying a model of what looks strangely like Christ Church!

The church building cost £13,000 and the total gift from Mr. Roberts for the building of the church and the rectory was £18,000. The Rectory which was situated on Princess Road has since been demolished and offices built on the site.

William Roberts was a brewer in Manchester and owned the Crown Brewery in Hulme in 1851. In the 1870s he employed 62 men and lived at Oaks Farm which occupied the site which is now St. Ambrose’s Church.

During the 1860s and 70s the area between Palatine Road and Burton Road was developed and St. Luke’s Church was built as a chapel-of-ease for St. James, Didsbury,. Plans were in hand for the creation of a new parish and a group of residents obtained an option of a site at the corner of Burton Road and Barlow Moor Road (the site of the Burton Road Mosque). At this point Mr. Roberts offered to build a church and rectory at his own expense and insisted on the present site, the corner of Darley Avenue and Princess Road (rumour has it that he wanted to see the church from his home!). In 1881 he was still living on the Chorlton/Didsbury boarder and would have watched the building of the Church and Rectory. In the late 1970s and early 1980s due to the development of the Parkway into a major road significant changes were made to the church. The main West doors were bricked-up and a new entrance made on Darley Avenue. The old organ was removed and a replacement one provided. The church was double-glazed and a new central heating system was installed. The floor level was raised with the provision of a new floor. The pews were removed and replaced by chairs and a nave altar put in place. Christ Church was closed for nearly a year and reopened in the summer of 1981.

In December 2006 Christ Church joined forces with St. Christopher’s Church in Withington and we became a single parish. Christ Church has become a popular venue for concerts and you can find details of forthcoming events on this website.

Our mission statement is:
”Welcoming – Worshipping – Serving”