St.Paul's History

St. Paul's Church has an illustrious history littered with highs and lows to which this section of the website will be dedicated. It will gradually be expanded up to the present day.St.Paul's Catholic Church, Lenton, Nottingham

The Early Days

In 1882, the cogs were put into motion for the formation of St.Paul's Parish. A catholic mission in Nottingham's Radford district was founded when a site was purchased on Salisbury Street. Prior to this, a chapel (referred to as 'The Brotherhood') at the end of Redoubt Street was utilised by Catholics in the surrounding area as a Mass centre.

Fr. Bernard Christian George was instated as parish priest in 1918 and the old school-building became St. Paul's Church. A make-shift altar, portable altar-rails, rustic benches and two Nissen-hut type stoves were recalled by Jack Thorne. There was also a huge statue of St. Anthony on a bracket donated by a Mrs. Cappocci; a familiar ice-cream seller who sold her produce in Nottingham's Market Place (now the Old Market Square) next to the statue of Queen Victoria.In September 1897, a new school chapel opened its doors in Salisbury Street and by 1898, a Convent of Franciscan Minoresses had been established in Radford.

The promising start, however, was threatened when the resident priest was moved on. Matters worsened when the convent shut and St. Paul's was reinstated as a chapel-of-ease to the Cathedral of St. Barnabas. Reorganisation was undertaken in 1904 and Fr. Nocolas McCarthy became the missionary rector of St. Paul's. He remained until 1906 and following this, a French priest (Fr. Joseph Marie Edmond Gattie) is remembered saying MassSt.Paul's Church, Lenton, Nottingham - view from Altar at 'The Brotherhood'. The existence of St. Paul's School came to an end in 1913. By 1916, St. Paul's was again being served by the Cathedral and St. Edward's took over the reigns in 1917.

The still-remaining Stations of the Cross from Oberammergau were in place but were then surrounded by rather bulky frames and there was an American organ with two manuals which was played by Mr. Groves, the strict choir-master of the day.

A Purpose-Built Church in the Pipeline

It was soon realised that St. Paul's was not a viable parish and Fr. George was moved on, with some parishioners switching to the Cathedral. However, Fr. George did not leave to be parish priest of St. Patrick's (Leicester) in 1927 before having planted a vital seed for the future prosperity of St. Paul's parish. He purchased a plot of land on Lenton Boulevard between the library and the then Shorts garage. There was a large amount of sandstone high above street level which Fr. George had excavated to allow foundations to be laid for a new church. The foresight of Fr. George was built upon by Fr. Richmond who succeeded him early in 1929 and in July, the foundation stone of the future St. Paul's church was laid by the then Bishop of Nottingham, Bishop Dunn.

The Plans Become Reality

On 25th January 1930, the new church was officially opened. The 1931 Diocesan Yearbook commented on the church's principal features including the pre-Reformation font acquired from Lenton's former Cluniac Priory. The church was built with coarse grey bricks inSt.Paul's Church, Lenton, Nottingham - view of Altar a definite Gothic style. The dimensions were 85 feet by 26 feet with the Angelus Bell (by Messrs.Taylor of Loughborough) hanging in the turret above the sacristy. Fr. Richmond managed to persuade his parishioners that the splendid new church merited a similarly fresh set of vestments and the response was remarkably generous. At the time it was reputed that St. Paul's vestments were the finest in the whole diocese and, whilst this cannot be stated as a fact, it is certainly true that the Cathedral borrowed them on special occasions.In order to make the church complete, a pneumatic action organ by Bower and Dunn of Sheffield with one manual and 380 pipes was subsequently chosen by Fr. Richmond and Mr. Groves. This was the promising dawn of a bright new era for St. Paul's Parish.