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The Tin Tabernacle

The Tin Tabernacle

St. Antony's Church

The historic Tin Tabernacle Church of St Antony's is unique and is a typical example of a number of churches that were built at the end of the late 1890s/early 1900s.

The church was opened in 1904 with a Brass Band marching to the entrance of Trafford Park to greet Bishop Carsatelli who was paraded into the Trafford park area and the village before blessing the new church which was constructed and put together by the workers from the area.

The construction originally forms a timber frame clad with treated corrugated steel. This remained in its original form up to the war in the 1940's when, due to the bomb dropping on the adjoining warehouse close to what was Ashburton Road East (now Village Way) an additional metal structure was built on the outside of the church to support the frame. It was understood that the blast from the bomb was in danger of making the church lean.

The original church was heated by a coal-fired boiler which was located outside the church in a boiler house to the left of where the present Trafford Park Memorial is located.  The boiler house had a Britannic boiler which was coal fired and fed hot water to the church and we assume the original school building which was located to the right hand side of the garden on the square piece of land that is still vacant to this day. 

The overall design of the church is similar to many operating in the country of which there are believed to be about 100 surviving examples. There are very few surviving which are still in operation as Church buildings. Many others have been converted to other uses over the years as community centres, offices and youth clubs etc. 

In 1994 once re-development of the former St Antony's School, which is now St Antony's Centre and Heritage Centre was completed, a complete refurbishment of the church took place.  It was agreed to pin the original roof beams back to a new metal frame on the outside and to protect the original cladding by re-covering the area with the green cladding to match the original finish.  The original finish and window frames are still retained under the exterior shell, hence the reason two windows can be observed.  This also gave the advantage of being able to create an exterior window to protect the stained glass windows on the building.  At the same time, the parishioners of St Antony's Church took the opportunity to re-order the interior of the church which led to the removal of a very old harmonium in the left hand corner as you entered the church and to replacing the original altar with the altar donated by the de-Trafford family.

The De-Trafford family had a catholic chapel at Barton. It is now widely believed that before the demolition of the small chapel, the artefacts were donated to St Antony's; hence there is a mix of stained glass windows. The front window in the main body of the church on the left hand side shows the coat of arms of the De-Trafford's and is dedicated to St Francis and St Anne, denoting Anne and Francis de-Trafford who were present at the Hall at this time and were Catholics.  The altar which originally was a side altar for many years in the church was re-positioned and separated from the screen which is immediately behind the main altar.  The ornate carving on the altar is rather beautiful and the two front legs are the original supporting legs with new supports built at the rear.

Over the entrance to the church is the original bell which is rung for masses and special occasions.  Over the entrance is a picture to the Madonna which was probably donated in the 1930's to the Church.  

It is widely believed that the Lectern which appears to have been made from part of a church screen was constructed by a joiner who originally worked for the Ford Company in Trafford Park in the early 1930's. 

While the church is no longer fully operational, it is used for private services and Mass services linked to the Spirituality Project and is maintained by the Centre for Church and Industry.