St Augustine’s Pendlebury, once known as ‘the miners’ cathedral’ due to its location at the heart of a coal-mining area, was designed by George Frederick Bodley in 1870 and was consecrated in 1874. The cost of the work was largely borne by Manchester banker, Edward Stanley Heywood.
Frederick Leach was working with Bodley and Charles Eamer Kempe at St Augustine’s and his diaries reveal some of the tensions that had developed between them and which led to Bodley excluding Kempe from the work at Pendlebury in favour of Burlison & Grylls (for the glass) and solely Leach (for the painting). Leach recorded, ‘Talk in disagreement with Mr Kempe over the Manchester work’ and ‘called on Mr Kempe, relinquished the present business with him . . . this resolve owing to the hands not recognising one as sole employer’.
David Parr recorded in his diary several periods of work at St Augustine’s between 1873 and 1880:
7th July 1873 ‘went to work one week at new St Augustine church Pendlebury Manchester’; 1st January 1874 ‘went to work at St Augusts [sic] church (1 month), Pendlebury Manchester’; 21st July 1874 ‘went to work at Christ Church and St Augustin’s church Pendlebury Manchester (over three weeks); 17th October 1874 ‘again went to work at St Augustine’s church 4th time Pendlebury Manchester (17 days)’; 11th September 1880 ‘proceeded to Manchester to work at St Augustine’s church Pendlebury for one week’.
Michael Hall, George Frederick Bodley and the Later Gothic Revival in Britain and America (Yale University Press, 2015)
Adrian Barlow, The Life, Art and Legacy of Charles Eamer Kempe (Cambridge, 2018)