By the late 1870s the population in
Springfield was increasing, and the effects of the 1875
Artisans Dwelling Act were starting to take effect. The
temporary church, now about 6 years old was already
falling into a bad state of repair, but funds were being
accumulated for a replacement. Donations were received
from the Rev. S. Mitchell, the curate, formerly in
charge at St. Stephen’s, who gave £100. The Duke of
Cleveland also gave £100, and the Rev. E. Samson of
Brereton gave £50.
The foundation stone laying
ceremony for the new church took place during a heavy
downpour of rain, on 13th September, 1879.
Captain P. Walker, the churchwarden at St. Peter’s
Church laid the stone in front of a small group of
onlookers including St. Mary’s vicar, the Rev. W. J.
Frere, and the Rev. W. M. Edwards, the new curate in
charge at St. Stephen’s.
contemporary newspaper report
about the laying of the foundation stone
The location of the school and
Work on the new church, on the
piece of land between Hilton Street, Cambridge Street
and Water Street, progressed rapidly, and St. Stephen’s
School Church opened its doors for the first time on 6th
January, 1880. During the first day the building
received a blessing from the Bishop of Lichfield, and
the Rev. J. Mitchell conducted a service. The church,
seating 255 people, had been designed by T. H. Fleeming,
and built by G. and F. Higham at a cost of £1,042.
The church school, known as
Springfield St. Mary’s, opened on 1st March,
with Miss C. Bacon in charge. She had previously taught
at St. Mary’s Infant School, and was ably assisted in
her new role by two pupil teachers, E. Ayres and J.
|There were 72 children on the roll, and an average
attendance of 60 during the first week.
In 1882 the
Rev. H. St. George became priest in charge of the school
church. The church had an annual income of £52, but by
1884 a further £200 was still required to pay off the
debt for the building. As a result collecting cards were
issued to the school children, and some of their work
was put on sale at the school on 25th and 26th
November. The sale raised a total of £209.6s.2d. which
instantly solved the problem.
|The school became known as St. Mary’s Springfield
National School, and consisted of 5 rooms on the Hilton
Street side of the building, which soon became
Plans were drawn up in 1895 for an
extension to accommodate a further 140 pupils, to bring
the total accommodation to 218. In 1897 an adjacent
piece of land was kindly purchased for the extension by
Springfield Brewery, at a cost of £223.8s.0d.
The building as it was in 2003.
|The extension was built the following year and cost
Proceed to the