English Church Architecture.
BAILDON, St. John (SE 156 386),
CITY OF BRADFORD.
(Bedrock: Carboniferous Namurian Series, Rough Rock from the Millstone Grit Group.)
An early 'bread and butter' job for the West Riding
Mallinson & Healey partnership, formed the year before in 1845.
The modern churches of our manufacturing districts, devoid of historical associations connected with those of older date, may possess little beauty in the poet's eye, but are not the less interesting in the sight of the philanthropist and the Christian. Reared as they are in the midst of a dense population, and occupied, as we trust they are, by laborious and self-denying clergymen, they cannot but be regarded as a powerful means for the intellectual, moral, and spiritual benefit of the land. As such, we hail there increase. and without further preface proceed to give a brief account of the consecration of [a] new church in our own neighbourhood during the past week. The Leeds Intelligencer for 1st April 1848, reporting on the church's consecration.
It must obviously have taken a little while for the new partners to develop and formularise their respective rôles and working practices. One surprising aspect of this that appears to emerge is that, as in his previous incarnation of head clerk to his contemporary, Harvey Eginton, in Worcester, Healey still appears to have been content to take what was in some respects the secondary place, in spite of his nine years seniority and greater and better professional experience. Mallinson’s name obviously preceded Healey’s in the title of the firm and Mallinson was based at what was, in effect, 'head office', where the day books were kept and the practice’s one and only assistant, Mr. Clarke, was based. The address was 15, Mount Street (later, Balmoral Place), Halifax; Healey’s office address in Bradford was 64, Tyrell Street, in what is now the city's former Victorian business district, a few minutes walk from Interchange Station.
Secondly, it is evident that from the outset, the partners were perfectly willing (indeed, perhaps, only too happy) to embrace a very eclectic range of projects, including some only loosely connected with architecture at all, and although the construction of churches - then generally regarded as the most elevated building genre - quickly came to occupy the largest proportion of their time, they obviously considered themselves under no constraints, unlike their London confrères, to eschew either secular work or work for the Nonconformists. Indeed, the extremely varied nature of their undertakings is evident from the first entries in their extant day-books for 1854-57, where in the first week of January 1854 alone, Mallinson recorded his engagement in preparing a rateable value for the railway in Dewsbury, his appearance in Wakefield as a witness in a compensation case arising over the value of land compulsorily purchased by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Company in Elland (which necessitated an overnight stay), and his involvement as 'umpire' in an unexplained dispute between Watson, Perkins & Co., stained glass manufacturers of Dunfermline, and a Mr. D. Denton, examined at The New Inn, Halifax. He also inspected plasterwork recently completed at Zion Methodist Chapel, Halifax, and prepared bills for the plastering of cottages in Luddendenfoot. Meanwhile Healey noted that he made three inspection visits to view on-going construction work at Manchester Road Schools, Bradford, another to inspect a potential site for a 'hydropathic establishment' in Ilkley, where he also examined the church roof (and which also required an overnight stay), and a fifth to Burley-in-Wharfedale parsonage, where building operations had been suspended due to frost. In between, he continued to draw up designs for a new parsonage at Copley (Sowerby Bridge), a new school at Boroughbridge, and a cross for the church at Cundall. The division between the partners’ work is impossible to draw precisely, but while Mallinson and Healey can be seen to have shared inspection visits to construction sites more or less equally, it is clear Healey spent more time designing and drawing in the office and Mallinson, more out and about, liaising with clients and the general public, conducting surveys and making valuations, and providing expert testimony in land and building disputes.
The commission to design the church at Baildon was a middling sort of job for it did not at that stage the tower, which was only added in 1928. Mallinson and Healey's contribution to the present building included the chancel, nave and independently-gabled S. aisle, the last of which was raised on the foundations of an earlier chapel considered in danger of imminent collapse but which proved so robust when the time came to demolish it, it proved necessary to bring down with dynamite!
Mallinson & Healey adopted the thirteenth century lancet style for their work here, and since no tower was intended, they sought to give the church in its elevated position, maximum visual impact from the west by providing the nave and aisle with steep, independent gables, and by placing a double bell-côte on the very edge of the latter. The opening of the new building was reported in The Leeds Intelligencer and the church also came to the attention of the author of the 'New Churches' article in The Ecclesiologist (probably Alexander Beresford Hope) (issue LXVII for October 1848, p. 134), who wrote a straightforward review without finding characteristic opportunity for sarcasm or his usual 'more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger' fault-finding, which was generally as bad or worse. The church has a very good guide written by Canon Bruce Grainger (A History of Baildon Parish Church, Saltaire, ASAP, 1988, pp. 12-13), from which the following is taken:
Some features of the old church were retained and re-used, notably the pillars which had formerly supported the lean-to north aisle... The chancel of the new building was quite plain, with a stone floor and originally there were no choir stalls. The sanctuary was larger than at present... [and the] vestry was originally smaller... There was no tower or baptistry... [and] no west porch, the west doors opening directly into the church. The congregation usually entered by the south door and there were seats for 500. The entire cost of the building was a little over £1,000.
Windows in the partners' new building are all individual lancets or two-light and plate-traceried, formed of two lancet openings with a quatrefoil enclosed in an encompassing arch. The early twentieth century tower is a worthy enough addition, but there can have been no pressing reason for breaking with the existing style to raise it in Decorated form. A doorway was set diagonally in the angle between the tower and the S. aisle, beneath the tower's stair turret, although a porch had already been added over the nave W. doorway (in 1897). (See the photographs above left, taken from the southwest. The photograph shows the church from the southeast.)
Inside the church, the five-bay S. arcade is composed of double-flat-chamfered arches supported on octagonal piers, while beyond the chancel arch, an arch in the S. wall of the chancel opens to the organ chamber. The roofs are of low collar-beam construction, with collars crossing the aisle about a quarter of the way up the pitch, and crossing the nave, about two-fifths of the way up (as seen in the interior view of the church below, viewed from the west). Arched braces support the collars, which in turn support struts rising to the principal rafters. There is a balcony above the nave to the west.
The church was consecrated on March 29th, 1848, but the incumbent, the Rev. Edmund Hodgkinson, who had planned the new building and been largely responsible for the fund-raising, was too ill to attend the ceremony and died the next day. The new minister was Rev. Joseph Mitton who also died in office after a ministry of twenty years.