Cheshire Architecture - Gothic Revival

PUBLISHED: 15:23 18 December 2014 | UPDATED: 15:23 18 December 2014

Alderley Edge Parish Church of St Philip and St James

Alderley Edge Parish Church of St Philip and St James


Gothic Revival, also known as Neo-Gothic or Victorian Gothic, is a design movement that began in the latter part of the 18th century, partly in response to the seemingly overpowering effects of the industrial revolution.

The form was originally developed by our medieval forebears, who sought to build extraordinary edifices to the glory of God, with spires and towers soaring towards the heavens and filled with design devices created by craftsmen at the top of their game.

As the industrial revolution progressed, people began to look back to the earlier Gothic style and sought to revive it, in the belief that society needed more meaningful buildings, not simply functional and plain.

Many of our great northern cities, their growth fuelled by the new money of industrial barons, reflect this desire to build new, glorious buildings; although unlike the original Medieval cathedral builders, it was not to the glory of God that they were built, but to register and reflect the new power in the land.

At the same time, the Church of England was growing rapidly and new churches were being commissioned across the country, the architecture of many reflecting the nostalgia for days gone by.

Perhaps the most glorious Gothic Revival edifice in Britain is The Palace of Westminster, designed by Charles Barry in 1835, who won a competition to design the new Houses of Parliament after the earlier buildings were destroyed by a fire.

Here in Cheshire there are many fine examples of Gothic Revival buildings, including The Church of St. Philip & St James in Alderley Edge, created by Manchester architect JS Crowther in 1853. Interestingly there is a stained glass window found here made by Morris & Co, the leaders of the Arts & Crafts movement.

But more on that another time...

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