St Mary’s Parish Church, Crumlin Road, Belfast, will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its consecration with a Service of Thanksgiving on November 25.
St Mary’s, a gothic style high Victorian Church with an enormous central tower, was designed by London architect William Slater, and was intended to accommodate 800 worshippers.
It is built of Mourne granite and sandstone and cost £6,500 to build.
The foundation stone was laid on October 27 1865 by the Most Rev Marcus Gervais Beresford, and the building was consecrated and dedicated by the Rt Rev Dr R Knox, Bishop of Connor on November 28 1868.
The five stained glass windows in the Sanctuary were presented by Mrs Blakiston-Houston and her son, Mr J Blakiston-Houston.
The first housing in the area sprang up in the 1860s to accommodate the workforce and their families who were mainly employed in the thriving linen industry on the Crumlin Road.
The closure of the mills in the 1960s hastened the physical and social decline and of the area.
In 1912, Trinity College Mission, later known as the Church of the Holy Redeemer, Riga Street, Shankill Road, was carved out of St Mary’s Parish. It existed as a parish unit on its own for some 80 years. The area was restored to St Mary’s in 1989.
The Church of the Holy Redeemer closed for worship in 1995 and parishioners and parish organisations transferred to St Mary’s Parish. Refurbishment work on the church organ, which is presumed to date to the building of the church in 1868, was completed in August 2006.
The service on Sunday November 25 begins at 3.30pm.