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A Brief Parish History
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As yet the Parish had no social centre but this was rectified when, on land given by Mr. Bradford, St. Peter's Guildhall was built, the official opening being on October 14th, 1937.St Peter's Church Leamington Street

At this time the old convent in Kirby Road was bought for a school but this plan was thwarted because of the outbreak of the 1939 War.

In 1938 a Chapel of Ease, the English Martyrs, was blessed by the Bishop on the vigil of the Ascension. This was served by the priests of St. Peter's until the arrival of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers.

In 1944 Father (later Canon) Francis Thornhill was appointed but his health broke down and he was succeeded by Father (later Canon) Michael Gilleran.

On March 26th, 1946, Canon Gilleran bought "Ashleigh" and four acres of land on the Gimson estate for £8,500, Plans were drawn up and Christ the King Primary School was opened in 1951, at a total cost of some £75,000.

The Parish was responsible for the setting up of the Mother of God Parish and for the new church there which was opened on October 11th, 1957, at a total cost of some £35,000.

St. Peter's Parish, under Canon Gilleran, played a major part towards the English Martyrs' School on Anstey Lane. The site was £4,250 and the contract price for the school was £215,608, which was officially opened on May 4th, 1965.

Canon Michael Gilleran, who was the driving force behind these remarkable achievements, passed away suddenly on August 3rd, 1976.

He was succeeded by Father Joseph Jones who was previously Parish Priest of St. John Bosco Parish on the other side of the city. Father Jones took up residence on October 1st, 1976, and was joined on November 5th by Father Thomas McGovern who was formerly assistant priest at St. Joseph's Church in the city.

It had been known for some time that the parish would loose its presbytery church and church hall because of a new road scheme for the inner city area, but it was not until January 8th, 1977, that work began on the new site which had been acquired on Hinckley Road. Work on the new presbytery was completed by the end of the year and the priests moved into their new home on December 21st, 1977. Work continued on the new Parish Church and Hall. The last Mass in the old church on King Richard's Road was said at lunch time on the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, 1978, and the first Mass in the new church was said the same day in the evening after a Procession of the Blessed Sacrament from the old to the new church. Both Services were conducted by Father McGovern because of the illness of Father Jones, the Parish Priest. He was assisted by Father Shanahan and Father Jenkinson of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers.


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