History of St. Stephen’s Church Building
The foundation stone was laid on May 29th 1856.
Mr. Henry Wilson, of Westbrook, paid for St. Stephen’s Church to be built with the exception of a grant of £600 from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and then afterwards enlarged. He endowed St. Stephen’s Church with £276 per annum and purchased a vicarage house, besides investing £200 as a Repair Fund.
The cost of the building was between £4,000 and £5,000. The total amount expended, including site, building, and endowment, was nearly £10,000.
The building was fast nearing completion on 13th December 1857, it was opened under license of the Archbishop of York for divine service, the Rev. Dr Sale, vicar of Sheffield, preaching the sermon in the morning. The church contained sitting for 600 people.
Within ten years (1865) the congregation had grown so large that the church seating needed to expand, they added the balcony to seat extre 125 to take the totle upto 725.
In 1902 electric light was introduced into the church.
Thus it is now fifty years since the work of the Church was commenced, and during the whole of that time “The good hand of our God has been upon us.” The population has doubled, the character of the Parish has very largely changed, but still the work goes on. In order to shew our gratitude to Almighty God, and to commemorate the Jubilee of our Church, a new Church Room is bein built in the Churchyard, for use as a Vestry on Sundays, and for other purposes on Weekdays, and the Organ is to be re-built.
Taken from St. Stephen’s Church Jubilee 1857 – 1907 book.
In 1940 the church close, and reopened about 1957 as a community centre as (St. Stephen’s House) Then reopened in 1964 as the Church of the United Benefice of St. Stephen’s with St. Philip and St. Anne.
When the church was about 100 years old the congregation had declined dramatically and the need arose for a smaller worship area, so a wall was built across the centre of the building, there by creating a smaller worship area with seating for about 100 on one side and a church hall on the other. We also have documentation that tells us that in the late sixties and early seventies the building was condemned as being uninhabitable, due to damp and lack of heating, but a few faithful people kept on praying within the building, and God honoured their faithfulness. The congregation grew and people with the necessary skills arrived and gradually the church was put to rights. As to the present, the whole area of Netherthorpe has changed with the demolition of some of the flats and maisonettes, others being modernised and the building of conventional housing near the church, which now leaves the area with a population of approx. 5,000.
In July 2013, the parishes of St Stephens, Netherthorpe and St Bartholomews, Langsett, were combined together to form The Vine Sheffield.