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Our Lady of Lourdes


A New Presbytery and Parochial Club
On 18th June Fr. Francis asked permission to purchase a house in Arundel Road, reporting that he was 'at present paying 27/6d. rent for a small house in Halsall Road'. The price of the newly-built house was £1,050 and Mgr. George of St. Joseph's gave £100 towards the cost. A mortgage having been arranged, Fr. Francis moved to the new Presbytery at 43, Arundel Road in August.
The Women’s Confraternity and The Union of Catholic Mothers were established in 1934 and this year also saw further extensions in parish activities when the parish acquired the Victoria Billiards Hall — a generous gift from a parishioner we are told — to be converted into a Parochial Hall. The newly founded Men’s Club was closely involved in this development and later in the year a Boys Club was affiliated to the Men’s Club. There followed many successful social activities including Amateur Dramatics, Sixpenny Hops—(twice a week), Whist Drives—(three times a week) and Grand Christmas Whist Drives which were reputed to have the biggest prizes in Southport. Around 400 people endeavoured to win sides of beef, geese, Christmas cakes and many other magnificent prizes. Young and old alike enjoyed Christmas parties with a younger Fr. Geary joining in the fun.

In the thirties the Parochial Hall was the setting for Lenten Passion Plays. One of the later producers was to become a household name. Wilfred Pickles, from Halsall Road, put on what the critics called a 'very professional performance'.

The Hall was also the venue for Boxing Displays with prize money around £200. Fr. Francis arranged for the audiences to be entertained by such great names as Peter Kane, Don Volante and Battling Siki. Sport was again highlighted in the mid 30's when the parish football team won the Southport and District League Trophy and Dixie Dean came to make the presentation.

A New Church is planned.
The parish having developed on a firm footing by 1939, Fr. Francis requested permission from Diocesan Authorities to begin the new church. His plan was to construct a magnificent building of white stone in an ornate style to be topped by first a tower and then a statue of Our Lady which was to be visible from shipping in the Irish Sea! The plans included a large grotto, dedicated to Our Lady, in the grounds. This was to be used for outdoor services and processions.
Unfortunately world events overtook these plans and the outbreak of the Second World War brought its own problems. Many parishioners opened their homes to evacuees (mainly from Bootle) and the influx of pupils caused severe overcrowding in the school. This was alleviated to some degree when the new Senior School in Grantham Road was opened in 1942. The Schools Senior and Junior were noted, then as now, for their 'happy atmosphere' and the children enjoyed a wide and varied curriculum.

The site in Waterloo Road which had been used as a short cut—some older parishioners may remember brushes with a flock of geese kept there—was lent to the authorities for use as allotments during the war. The parish was involved in the War Effort through the schools, campaigns such as 'Wings for Victory' saw magnificent totals being raised, far surpassing the 'target' in each case.
The Legion of Mary was founded in July 1942—'to keep all in touch with the Church and with one another'. The members were much involved in parish activities especially the May processions which were an outward sign of the devotion of the parish to its patron. In later years the Legion took Our Lady's Statue to homes in the parish for a Family Rosary Campaign in which parishioners and friends recited the Rosary together.

In 1943 Dean Francis celebrated his Silver Jubilee. The school held a concert in the Parochial Hall and this was followed by a presentation.
A church choir was formed in 1945, hymns were accompanied by music from the small organ at the back of the church. Some readers may remember that this organ had to be hand pumped by volunteers!
The parishioners were sad to lose Dean Francis in 1946 when he was moved to Our Lady's, Formby, but still had opportunities to meet him at the Formby Galas and Sports Days that he organised in the church grounds.
Fr. Anderton followed Dean Francis as parish priest. Being of a quieter disposition he preferred to organise parish affairs and functions in a less flamboyant fashion. The Church Debt was then being paid off at a rate of about £1,000 a year but he wished to increase the amount to £2,000 a year. The Outdoor collection was reorganised with the parish being divided into 25 districts so that each collector had no more than 15 houses to cover. Also a Committee was established to run the hall on a sound business basis, aiming to have a net income of £20 a week. Hire of the hall was fixed at £3 a session.
In August 1952 a weekly Parish Football Pool was set up to help reduce the Church Debt and defray expenses in connection with the school. Even so Parish Funds remained a constant source of worry for Fr. Anderton who saw little hope of building a new church which would cost in the region of £40,000. In March 1953, however, he was able to tell the parish of an anonymous donation of £10,000 towards the building of the New Church—the identity of the donor caused much speculation, eventually the news leaked that thanks were due to Alderman Frederick Worswick, uncle of one of our present parishioners.
Fr. Anderton was not convinced that Waterloo Road was the best site in the parish for the new church and early in 1954 he moved to Little Crosby. Later that year he celebrated his Jubilee—an occasion marked by a testimonial gift from the Parish.












Whit Sunday 1955. Procession to the new site in Arundel Road

Father Reilly was appointed as parish priest with his first target the building and opening of the new church. On Whit Sunday in 1955 a large procession wound its way from the old church to the new site to witness the 'cutting of the first sod' by Dean Francis. Our Lady's statue was carried in the procession and duly crowned at the site.

Later in the same year, after a slight delay caused by a strike in the steel industry, the Foundation Stone was laid by His Grace, Dr. Godfrey, Archbishop of Liverpool. The stone was 5cwt of 'Westmoreland Green' costing £75, and a list of subscribers was sealed in the stone with other items. A new era was to begin.




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Our Lady of Lourdes: Waterloo Road, Hillside, Southport, PR8 3DA

Saint Joseph's: Saxon Road, BIrkdale, Southport, PR8 2AY.

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Our Lady of Lourdes and Saint Joseph's
Saint Joseph's Rectory, 40 York Road, Southport, PR8 2AY.
Telephone: 01704 568313
E-mail: Contact Page