Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Belper

Published 29th of January 2020

12 Gibfield Lane, Belper DE56 1WA

Deanery of Amber Valley

Clergy: Rev. Fr. M. Kirkham

Telephone contact: 01773 822182

E-mail contact: our_ladys_belper@hotmail.com

Website: www.cpbd.co.uk

Mass timings: Saturday, 18.00; Sunday, 11.00; Holy days, as announced.

Confessions: Saturday, 17.30, or by appointment.

Chairman of the pastoral council: Mr. D. Barlow.

Safeguarding representative: Mrs. M. Kingman.

History: The parish found its beginning in 1857 as a retreat house for the Mercy Sisters of Derby. The Sisters opened a school and their private chapel served a local Catholic congregation of about a hundred people. It appears that Mgr. Roskell, the second Bishop, lived there briefly and served as a chaplain to the community. This arrangement was affected by a rise in local antiCatholic prejudice that moved Catholic workers away from Belper, and the Sisters themselves eventually returned to Derby in 1861. In the following forty or so years, Mass was scheduled on a monthly basis from 1880 to 1883 at the home of a Mr. Gallimore on Bridge Street, and later on a weekly basis from 1897 to 1900 at the home of a Dr. McElligott. In 1904, the War Office stationed the Sherwood Foresters near Belper and Canon James W. Browne of S. Joseph's in Derby came out to say Mass for them, in a rented room on King Street, opposite from the railway station. The number of civilians attending Mass at this point convinced the Bishop (Mgr. Brindle, the fourth Bishop) of the need for a restored Mission at Belper, so Canon Browne continued to serve Belper when the troops moved away, moving the Mass centre to the rooms of a Mr. Medley on King Street. This location later became part of a Franciscan convent and then a parish hall. At this point, Canon Browne was still coming up from S. Joseph's, although Belper stood in the parish of S. Mary's of Derby. Finally, towards the end of 1909, Fr. Joseph Stewart took up residence on Spencer Road, later dedicating the Belper mission to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, a personal devotion of his. A full-sized copy of the famous icon, erected by Fr. Stewart at the King Street chapel in 1913 may still be seen today in the new church on Gibfield Lane. Fr. Stewart's successor, Fr. Louis Drury, moved the chapel to an empty shop further along King Streetin 1918, with a flat above the shop serving as a presbytery. The present site was soon purchased and a church was opened there by Mgr. Dunn, the fifth Bishop, at the end of 1919, the funds for the building work being provided by Mr. Humphrey Johnson, who drew the community out of debt in 1923 (Mr. Johnson himself was ordained priest in 1930 and later moved to the archdiocese of Birmingham). The church was soon declared unsafe and a new building erected by 1926. In 1937, the Franciscan Minoresses (arrived 1936, left 2007) opened a school in King Street; their convent and the school moved to Quarrybank House in 1946 and was named S. Elisabeth's and, in 1958, a new building was built nearby. In the 1980s, the church was redone and a parish hall built.

Source: Canon A. P. Dolan, Good News for the East Midlands: an account of the background to, and the story of, the Diocese of Nottingham, Tucann Books, 2018, pp. 52-4.