exterior view of the east end aps chancel at St Luke's Church, Weaste, Salford
Apsed chancel to the east end of Church of St. Luke, Weaste, Salford © Historic England
Apsed chancel to the east end of Church of St. Luke, Weaste, Salford © Historic England

Church of St Luke, Weaste, Salford

The parish church of St Luke in Weaste, Salford, was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1865. Gilbert Scott - perhaps best known for designing St Pancras Hotel and the Albert War Memorial - was one of the Victorian era’s stand-out architects and a master of the Gothic Revival style. The style’s characteristic pointed arches, buttresses and traceried windows are all brought together in St Luke’s to create a stunning parish church.

The semi-circular chancel chapel, separated from the nave by another pointed arch, was added in 1875 and illustrates the sensitive skill of the architect’s practice. It alternates painted panels with stained glass windows and has a multi-coloured ceiling. The colourful result is a delight.

Emmeline Pankhurst connection

The new chancel was completed just ten years before local girl Emmeline Pankhurst (nee Goulden) was married here in December 1879. Emmeline married reforming lawyer Richard Marsden Pankhurst a week before Christmas, aged 21. Her husband supported women’s suffrage and wrote the Married Women’s Property Acts of 1870 and 1882. These pioneering Acts allowed women to keep their property and earnings after marriage for the first time.

Twenty-one years later and following her husband’s death, Emmeline and her daughters downsized their living accommodation to what is now known as the Pankhurst Centre in Nelson Street, Manchester. The Pankhurst Centre tells the story of the suffragette movement, as well as offering advice and support on domestic violence.

Emmeline Pankhurst was instrumental in the women’s suffrage movement. Women over 30 were ultimately given the right to vote in 1918. The right to vote was extended to all women over 21 in 1928.

St Luke’s Church is impressively located, sitting on a small rise along Liverpool Street. Its spire dominates the local landscape. The church’s original ornate garden houses the Parish Hall which is often a hive of activity. St Luke’s welcomes all to its regular services.

Despite being a much-loved building, St Luke’s was added to Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Regsiter in 2018.  A leaking roof is damaging the ceilings. The resultant flaking paint (shown in the photograph below) could develop into further problems if left unchecked. Indeed, the church has previously suffered from rot outbreaks.

Historic England is now piloting a new grant scheme (funded by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) for minor repairs to listed places of worship of all faiths in Greater Manchester. St Luke’s may be one of the churches which benefits from this. It is hoping to apply for a grant to rectify some of the damage caused by a leaking gutter above the baptistery.

See more information on the grant application process for general maintenance and minor repairs. The project aims to prevent listed places of worship from becoming at risk by helping them to tackle repairs before problems become too serious. We hope that many faith buildings will take advantage of this new grant scheme, and nip problems in the bud.

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