The Second Church

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.

Read a contemporary newspaper report
about the laying of the foundation stone

The location of the school and church.

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. Weaver.

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 overcrowded.

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 of £1153.0s.0d.

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