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Saint Alban the Martyr, Highgate

St Albans church west front
The parish church St Alban the Martyr, Highgate (formerly Bordesley)

St Albans interiorSt Albans altar

The red brick exterior of this Grade II* listed Victorian Gothic church conceals magnificent cathedral-like stone vaulting within. Designed by John Loughborough Pearson, architect of Truro Cathedral, it opened in 1881.  The distinctive saddle-back tower was added in 1938 to a new design by Birmingham architect E. F. Reynolds.

The view from the new park opposite the church gives no clue that it was originally surrounded by high-density back-to back and courtyard housing, but it was built as a result of an Anglo-Catholic mission founded in 1865 by brothers James and Thomas Pollock, who were inspired by the Oxford Movement to bring both the Gospel and education to workers in a crowded area of housing and industry.

Within the church, St Patrick's Chapel contains a fine reredos with five tempera panels painted by Kate Bunce, a leading Birmingham artist of the Arts and Crafts period. The central panel, depicting the infant Jesus cradled by the wings of angels before the kneeling figure of Mary, and the flanking panels of adoring angels are notable for the inclusion of realistic images of many different British birds. The outer panels depict St Patrick and St Alban. The tryptich frame is covered in hand-beaten copper by Kate's sister Myra, has a border of shamrock pattern and roundels including emblems of the four evangelists and of Christ.

A Birmingham Civic Society Blue Plaque fixed to the church tower on Conybere Street commemorates Kate Bunce.

Detailed Information


Church Address: see below*

Correspondence Address:
219 Gristhorpe Road,
Selly Oak,
B29 7SP.

Tel: 0121 440 4605.

Contact Person:Christopher Smith,

Church Website

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Free; donations towards restoration and upkeep welcomed.

Opening Hours

Apart from Heritage Open Days, currently only after services (Sundays, Thursdays and Saturdays and some Holy Days), before concerts or by

See website for times.




Information cards for self-guided tour of church and for Bunce reredos.
Guides and card for sale.

Disabled Visitors

Step-free access to nave and side chapels via side entrance; adapted toilet.

How to get there:

*St Alban's Church
Conybere Street,
Highgate, Birmingham
B12 0YH
For SatNav use postcode B12 0YJ.


Cars: Street Parking