St Germain

St Germain's is Grade II listed, and was one of very few built during the First World War, being consecrated in September 1917.

About this church

The architect was Edwin Francis Reynolds and it is considered to be the church which made his reputation. It is a good example of the Early Christian / Byzantine style and remains largely unaltered with many original internal fixtures and fittings surviving. It is notable for the range of good quality materials used.

St Germain's was the second of five Birmingham churches designed by Reynolds. His original drawings included proposals for a very large bell tower, to dominate the corner of the site where City Road and Portland Road meet, however this was never realised. There are other aspects which do not match his original intentions: for example he intended the exterior walls to be 'grey brick with red brick angles to the piers'. We can speculate that the brown bricks we see today, result from issues of availability during the construction of the building in the First World War.

The west front contains three bas relief panels: an anonymous shepherd figure, possibly St Germain, or Christ the Good Shepherd, and figures named as 'Saint Mary' and 'Saint John'.

The building is constructed from brick with Hollington stone dressings, and sections of decorative stone and tile work. The interior of the church has hardwood floors with walkways of stone and green Westmorland slate. The church is built to a basilican plan. The nave columns are of Shap granite and those in the chancel are green Swedish marble, both with Portland stone capitals.

The southern transept houses the organ which was purchased in 1922 and bears memorial plaques to those who died in both world wars. Poignantly, many fixtures and fittings were given in memory of those fallen in the First World War.

The northern transept has a small side chapel with a triptych created and donated by the preRaphaelite artist Kate Bunce, and her sister Myra Bunce, famed for her metalwork, in 1926. Kate Bunce was a painter and poet elected to the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists in 1888. The St Germain's triptych features 'Our Lord in glory, surrounded by angels, and St Germain and St Augustine. Some of the timber roof beams above the nave and chancel are painted with Arts & Crafts motifs in red and green.

'A Centenary History of St Germain's Church 1917 - 2017' has been written by Ruth Briggs.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Social heritage stories
  • National heritage here

Visitors information

  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike

Other nearby churches

Newman House

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