Wolverhampton's Locally Listed Buildings

St. Thomas's Church

Oak Hill, Finchfield

Listing:  Built as a mission church to Christ Church, Church Road, Tettenhall Wood.  1875.  Architect - J. R. Veal. Locally Listed, approved March 2000.

Comment:  Presumably a chapel of ease as much as a mission church.  In 1875 there was very little development in Finchfield; the population to be served must have been quite small and the prospect of an immediate increase, remote.  But it would have served that part of Tettenhall which lay on the this side of the valley of the Smestow Brook, on Finchfield Hill, opposite Tettenhall ridge. Finchfield contained a number of  farmworkers' cottages, a few farmhouses and one or two gentlemen's residences. 

The church is now out of use and it was put up for sale by auction in 2000 with the suggestion that it be converted to a house.  Nothing seems to have happened.  It is likely that the cost of the conversion was too great for the accommodation which could be provided - and you would have difficulty in providing garage access on this narrow site. Since then it has come into the same ownership as the large garage next door.  That, and other land, was then acquired for Waitrose, who put up a proposal for a superstore, which this church would have been incorporated into.  The proposal was abandoned, probably on account of opposition based on traffic and shopping considerations.  In 2004 another developer came along with a not dissimilar scheme for a somewhat smaller Marks and Spencer food store.  This church was shown in the application as being extended at one end and converted into a "retail unit".  Later the developers said the church would become a coffee shop associated with the store. We wait to see what will happen to this proposal.