Wilford Hill
St Paul


St Paul’s church serves the parish of Wilford Hill and is located in West Bridgford at the junction of Boundary Road and Loughborough Road.

With the growth of population in West Bridgford in the years following the Second World War, the need for a new church was identified. Lady Bay became a parish in 1950 and, the following year, the Alford Road Mission, replaced by the present St Luke’s in 1957, was established.

The key change was the development of the Wilford Hill Estate in the early 1950s. It soon became clear that the area needed its own church. In 1957, negotiations to acquire a plot of land at the western end of Boundary Road were completed. Interestingly, the site was not actually in West Bridgford parish; instead, it was just across the boundary in Wilford.

In 1958, the PCC formed a sub-committee to work on the development scheme. Money was limited and it was clear from the outset that the building would have to be dual purpose, i.e. serve as a church on Sundays and function as a parish hall in the week. Messrs W. and J. Simons Ltd of West Bridgford were awarded the building contract which amounted to £7,300.

The first church on the site was a brick hall dedicated on 1 July 1960 by the Bishop of Southwell, the Rt Rev Russell Barry. The architect was Nat Lane.

From the early days the building was well used during the week. Several organisations were formed: a Women’s Fellowship, a Men’s Group, Sunday Schools and a Youth Group. In the first few months a dance and social evening was arranged. It was, however, advertised with caution: ‘Younger people who wish to dance are also welcome, but there will be positively no Rock ‘n Roll!’

The first building had much in common with the church of St Peter and St Paul on the Ruff’s Estate in Hucknall. The altar furniture, which had to be portable, was based on that at St James’ Porchester.

The Rev John Bartlett joined the parish clergy in October 1963 with special responsibility for St Paul’s church. Before long the debt had been paid and planning for the next phase of development was underway. By the autumn of 1965, preparatory work for extending the church had been completed and the ‘Half As Much Again’ funding campaign launched with the target reached in 1966. The extensions were constructed during 1966 and dedicated by the Bishop of Sherwood, the Rt Rev Kenneth Thompson, on 18 November 1966. The architects were Leslie Nunn and Godfrey Shipp of West Bridgford.

By the late 1960s the congregation had grown and it was accepted that a more experienced incumbent (with somewhere for him to live) was required. In 1971 the Parochial Church Council approved plans for a permanent sanctuary and the appointment of a team vicar.

In May 1973 plans for church extension and the building of a parsonage were approved. The cost was estimated at £45,000 and John Severn was commissioned as the architect.

‘The Sanctuary’ (as the church extension was called) and parsonage were completed in February 1975 and dedicated by the Bishop of Southwell, the Rt Rev Denis Wakeling, on 5 March 1975.

A festival of flowers called ‘God’s Bounty and Harvest’ was held in the church in September 1979. It depicted scenes from the parable of the sower and the harvest.

In 1981, a series of events were organised to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the church. This included an open air service, dedication festival, anniversary Eucharist and evensong.

During the 1980s ‘The Sanctuary’ was proving to be too small for services so plans were made to enlarge it. Work started in early 1987 to ‘push out the walls’ of the sanctuary (by adding four large bays), connect it to the original buildings, and create a foyer. The church could now accommodate 300 people. The first service after the completion of the building works was on 19 March 1988.

In April 1988, St Paul’s West Bridgford became the new parish of St Paul, Wilford Hill. St Paul’s was, in fact, in the parish of Wilford to begin with and its new role was seen in the light of huge housing expansion in the area. Thus, part of Wilford and West Bridgford were combined to make the new parish of St Paul Wilford Hill. The Rev Graham Pigott was instituted and inducted as the first vicar of St Paul’s on 27 September 1988 by the Bishop of Sherwood, the Rt Rev Richard Derby. The new stained glass windows designed by Paul Quail were dedicated at the same time.