The Building

outside-photo-all-saintsThe growth of suburban Birmingham at the beginning of the 20th Century led to a scheme to build a new church in the parish of St James, centered on Mere Green. The Church of All Saints was consecrated in 1908 by Charles Gore, Bishop of Birmingham, although funds had only been allowed for the building of a nave of four bays and a temporary chancel and vestry. The Parish of All Saints was given independence from St James’ in 1920.

The building was never completed to the original design by E.R. Reynolds (there are still steps leading to a tower which was never built), but a choir vestry was added in 1954, and in 1965 a substantial extension was added, with a new chancel and a striking priests’ vestry reminiscent of a medieval chapter house.

The Church is built of brick to a simple design, with a single nave aisle and only one altar. More recent reordering has brought the font to the front of the nave, and several stained glass windows have been added.

There are very few windows from the early 20th Century, but there are fine examples of windows from the 1950s in the choir vestry, and during the 1980s and 1990s a number of windows of the saints were commissioned from the artist Osmund Caine, representing the largest single collection of his work in glass.

In the late 1990s a large painted hanging rood was installed over the chancel steps. The possibility of a Rood was first discussed in 1991 following the receipt of a generous legacy from the estate of Mr Carl Watkinson, a life long supporter of All Saints, former Churchwarden and formerly a teacher at Bishop Vesey Grammar School. Mr John Poole, a well known sculptor in wood, metal and stone, with a history of ecclesiastical work was commissioned to do the work in 1992.

The Rood took several years to complete, due to its size and complexity and was fashioned from specially imported Lime wood and constructed from several separate pieces glued together. The Rood was raised into position and dedicated by the then Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt. Rev. Mark Santer at a special service in October 1998.