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90th Anniversary Celebration Sunday 21st April 2024

Sunday 21st April 2024 is the 90th anniversary of the Consecration of St Mary Magdalen's, but how did the 'Church with the blue roof' come to be built in Chapelfields?

In the early years of the 20th century Coventry began to expand rapidly. In 1894 St Thomas' Church, which was at the corner of Albany Road and The Butts, had erected a tin mission Church near the railway arches in Spon End. In 1917 this was moved up to Sir Thomas White's Road, to where the Magdalen Centre now stands. It was dedicated on 28th October 1917, the Feast of Saints Simon & Jude, as 'the District Church of St Mary Magdalen in the Parish of St Thomas'. Fr Harold Tuff was appointed Priest-in-charge, but still under the jurisdiction of the Mother Church of St Thomas and its Vicar Canon James.

Fr Tuff worked hard to establish the church, and in 1926 the new Parish of St Mary Magdalen was created and Fr Tuff became Vicar. By this time the old 'Tin Tabernacle' was too small for the growing congregation, and the Sunday School had to meet in people's houses. Something had to be done!

In 1929 Fr Tuff moved on to become Rector of Elford, near Tamworth and Fr Philip Morson, Curate of St Mary's Abbey Church, Nuneaton was inducted as Vicar at the end of the year. He immediately got to work, and an architect prepared plans for a new church. These were rejected, and a local architect, Herbert Jackson, drew up new plans which were accepted, the foundation stone being laid on 3rd December 1932. The Parish worked incredibly hard in those difficult days to raise money to build their church; there was the "mile of pennies", collecting boxes were delivered to parishioners to collect loose change, the Sunday School children collected money to pay for the Font, and members of the congregation bought the chairs for the Nave at a cost of 7s6d each! 

Remarkably, less than 18 months later, at 3.00 pm on Saturday 21st April 1934, with the glorious new church packed to the doors, the Lord Bishop of Coventry  The Right Reverend Mervyn Haigh, knocked on the West Door with his crozier to gain admittance for the Service of Consecration. A whole new chapter in the life of St Mary Magdalen's was beginning.

We would love to welcome you at 10am on Sunday 21st April 2024 to our beautiful Church.

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