View of the church

Bestwood

St Matthew on the Hill

Nottingham Archdeaconry

Nottingham North Deanery

Introduction

Originally there was a mission church completed in June 1939 and called St Francis. In 1949 a scheme was started to build a new church on Bestwood Estate, eventually called St Matthew’s on the Hill and consecrated in October 1959.

The original St Matthew’s on Talbot Street, Nottingham, had closed in 1952 and been demolished in 1956. The new church was designed by Vernon Royle, who was much influenced by Sir Basil Spence’s three churches in Coventry. He built ‘a great barn’ 90 feet x 30 feet high, the walls and roof supported by great precast concrete frames. There is no division between the nave and the chancel.

The building, of brick and precast panels, comprises nave, chancel, chapel, porch and clergy vestry. It was hoped to build a tower and choir vestry.

All of the windows are long and rectangular; the great west window and the two large ones at the east end are composed of insulated glass blocks. Stained glass windows, including one by Kempe of St Michael slaying the Dragon, were transferred from the old St Matthew’s. So were the bell, the pews (now painted), the altar table, lectern, font, choir stalls and litany desk. The font stands on the foundation stone of the earlier mission church.

A canopy hangs over the altar table, and near the pulpit there is a Cross and Crown of Thorns made by a local apprentice. Candlesticks were made by pupils of Padstow School.

The church was damaged by a fire in 2009 and may be demolished. It is now united with Bestwood St. Philip.

Particular thanks to Amy Calladine and Dr Chris Brooke for research on this entry
and to Geoff Buxton for the photographs .