About this church
St Mary Magdalen dates from 1934, having been designed by local architect Herbert Jackson, to replace the tin tabernacle church that stood nearby. The modern church was designed in a Romanesque style with Byzantine detail, drawing upon the designs of the great basilicas of Rome and Constantinople.
The building contains a number of art works of national significance, in particular by George Wagstaffe, John Skelton and Patrick Martin. St Mary Magdalen's is known throughout the city as 'The Church with the Blue Roof' and it seems likely that the architect wanted to draw attention to the building with a striking statement of modernity that also recalls the theology of the Oxford Movement, which has influenced the church since its very beginning.
The main entrance dates from 1986, when the Magdalen Centre was added to the west end of the church. Inside the church, above the west entrance, your eye will be drawn to the large Magdalen Window, which was dedicated in 1986. St Mary Magdalen is shown with her ointment, almost crouching in an S shape, a figurative tradition from medieval glasswork; while Christ, who is giving up his life, seems natural and relaxed in his giving.
A more modern addition to the nave is a bronze statue of St Mary Magdalen by George Wagstaffe, who also designed the stand for the Paschal Candle and the Stoup by the west entrance. He sculpted St Mary Magdalen as someone who was both young and old, and who was damaged, yet healed. He was influenced by the events of September 11th 2001, that occurred while he was making the small wax working model.
The windows around the Lady Chapel each vividly depict a female saint. Some will be very familiar, but unusually St Osburg is in the first window of the apse. She's the only Englishwoman of the group as well as a local hero, having founded the first religious house in Coventry. The window for St Margaret of Scotland is a replacement for one which was originally above the High Altar, but was destroyed in the Blitz.