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St Francis




The first church on this site in North Street was opened in 1873. It was a "tin tabernacle" built of currugated iron and was dedicated to Holy Cross. Plans for a permanent church followed and John Bevan was chosen as architect. The building was constructed 1886-87, and was one of the largest of Bristol's suburban churches. The planned steeple at the NW corner (see above) was never built. It was blitzed in December 1940 when parts of the roofs were burnt but quickly restored, only for the whole interior to be lost in the air raids of Good Friday 1941. Services transferred to the church hall.

These two old postcards show the church before destruction. Its main features were the large plate traceried windows, which were hardly beautiful, the exception was the east window of five lights with hard geometric tracery. The bellcote was part of the original design. The interior was spacious and there was much exposed brickwork.

After the second world war the ruins were cleared and a new church was built 1950-53 to the designs of Robert Potter. It reuses the foundations of the old nave and north aisle. Outside it is of yellow brick with Bath stone dressings. Like the first church a tall tower was planned at the NW angle but never built.

Inside the aisle is low but the main section of the church is light and airy with transverse arches dividing the bays. There is a west gallery with organ works flanking the west window. The east window has stained glass by Christopher Webb.

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page created 22nd January 2007