St Peter’s is a large, Grade II Victorian Church built between 1872 and 1879 to the design of George Edmund Street. G.E. Street (1824-1881) was one of England’s most pre-eminent Victorian ecclesiastical architects, whose most well-known building is the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
The Leicester Journal in 1874 wrote of St Peter’s that it “is satisfactory proof how much real beauty is independent of elaborate detail construction and lavish ornament and how much charm can be thrown over a comparatively plain and simple building by the harmony of its proportions.”
Over the years functional changes have been made to interior layout of the Church including a glass and wooden partition which divides the nave, and temporary additions, which challenge the simple beauty of the church construction.
The Old Hall to the North of the Church was constructed shortly after the Church in the late 19th Century and is a valuable Victorian building in its own right. The more utilitarian New Hall, constructed in 1979 and is great for meetings and seminars.
The wonderful 1910 organ, utilising the original casings of 1870’s organ, was built by Stephen Taylor & Son, who also built the superb De Montfort Hall organ. Stephen Taylor & Son were based in Severn Street in Highfields.
The church is blessed with furniture and artefacts influenced by the arts and crafts movement, including the choir stalls and the Whalley East Window.
A book on the history of St Peter’s Highfields, the changes in the area and including some stunning photographs is available. You can pick up a copy from the Church or order online direct from the publishers.
We have also produced a video on the history and heritage of the church and Highfields. You can watch it below.