Church History

St Silas Church's roots go back to 1800s when the area was a small hamlet of weavers and farm-workers. In 1831, Joseph Feilden of Witton Park offered a site for a Sunday School and in 1834 the foundation stone of Billinge End Sunday School was laid. From here the church community grew and there was a need for a dedicated church. The school building is now the Parish Centre to the right of the church. The Church was built to glorify God and has many unique features, as described below. Our booklet, The Parish of St Silas, Blackburn - a Short History,  provides a full account of how the Church came to be built, its early history and further details of the features mentioned below. The booklet is available in church.  

The Building

The architects for the church were Paley and Austen of Lancaster. The foundation stone was laid on December 8th, 1894. The first parts to be built were the nave, chancel and vestries. The outer walls are of local stone, and the interior walls are of Runcorn stone. The body of the church was consecrated by the Bishop of Manchester on July 18th, 1900. 

 

The foundation stone of the tower was laid on Ascension Day, 1913. It is built from local stone, and took a year to complete at a cost of £6,000. The clock, by Smith's of the Midland Clock Works, was installed in June 1914.

Harrison Organ

The organ was built in 1904 by Harrison and Harrison of Durham, at a cost of £1,200. Restoration work was carried out in 1925, 1953, 1989 and 2016.

 

 Experience gained by Harrison's on the building of St. Silas' s organ was put into practice on their next building project, the organ of Durham Cathedral.

As part of the church outreach a programme, concerts and recitals are occasionally held on Saturday mornings.

Windows 

The East Window 'The Ascension' was made in 1908. Artist unknown.

The Chapel's east window. 'Resurrection Morn"' was made in 1905. Artist unknown.

The Chapel's south windows are by Seward and Co. of Lancaster, and were made in 1921.

The 'David, Gideon, Jesse and Jacob' window. Artist Henry Holiday. Possibly made by Lowndes and Drury.

The 'Nativity without the Shepherds' window was made by Morris and Co. to a design by Edward Burne-Jones in 1908.(picture right)

The 'Christ among the Doctors' window was designed by Henry Dearle, using designs by William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones and made in 1911.

The West window is based on Acts 17, and includes the four northern saints, Aiden, Columba, Kentigern and Cuthbert. Made by Whitefriers of London. Installed in 1950.

Altar

The Reredos, is made from Staffordshire alabaster by Bridgeman's of Litchfield, and was installed in the church in 1915. It depicts Christ feeding the five thousand, and is in memory of Alderman Henry Harrison, who died in 1914.

Baptism Font and Pulpit

The font, given by Mr and Mrs Slater in memory of their son, Thomas, is made from Runcorn stone, and carved by Lewis and Sons of Blackburn in 1896. The carved oak font cover was added in 1915 by Mr and Mrs Slater.

 The pulpit is made from Runcorn stone and carved by Dent and Marshall of Blackburn. It is in memory of Mr. W. Tattersall.

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