During the time of Fr O'Shaughnessy the population of Irlams o'th' Height continued to grow as did the Catholic population. When he arrived in the parish there were about 450 parishioners. The census of 1934 put the number of Catholics at nearly 600 which by 1937 had increased to 750. By 1949 this was 900 and in 1955, 1150. The Catholic population continued to rise and by 1961 there were 1550 Catholics in the area of The Height.
In the first half of the 1950's, St Luke's church was packed every Sunday with some of the congregation standing at the back and on special days such as Christmas not everyone could fit in the church. A new parish was then to be formed. This was part of Bishop Marshall's plan that there should be a church within walking distance of every Catholic.
There was much controversy over the new parish boundaries, there being objections from some of the surrounding parishes that were to 'lose' territory and parishioners to the newly established parish. The decision was made and Muskers of Swintonwere given the contact to build the new church on a plot of land on Park Rd in Ellesemere Park. The land acquired was large enough for the temporary church and for the building of a more permanent church in the future. The parish was comprised partly from St Luke's and partly from St Mary's Eccles. The first Parish Priest was Fr J Leo McGinnell and Ss Peter and Paul's opened in 1956.
Father Ginley offered two oak altars. The Our Lady altar had been a 1914-18 war memorial and had in the centre panel a carved image of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. The Sacred Heart altar had a carved image of the Sacred Heart.
Can you help?
- Photos of Fr McGinnell
- Does anyone have memories/photos of events around the time of the opening of the church
- Ss Peter & Paul Parish map 1956
- St Luke's Parish boundary maps before 1956.
- Photo of early Ss Peter and Paul church, ouside and inside (perhaps weddings, christenings)