The plans for the new church were drawn up by the architect Mr Peter Lamprell-Jarrett of Archard & Partners. The new church was built adjacent to the old St Joseph’s Church, on a triangular plot of land lying between Archway Road and Bournemouth Road. The Parish Hall, Social Club and Grotto all had to be demolished to make way for the new church. The site sloped away quite dramatically, so the problem of the different levels was resolved by the inclusion of what was originally planned to be a crypt chapel.The main building contractors, Burt & Vick Ltd of Poole, began the work on 21 August 1960. The Laying of the Foundation Stone ceremony was led by Bishop Restieaux on 30 April 1961 before a congregation of 300 who braved the pouring rain to witness the blessing of the foundation stone and the four pillars on each side of the church.
Stone Mason: Many craftsmen helped build the church, but mention should be made of Mr John Green of Burstall, Ipswich. John gained his Master Mason certificate in 1951. He went on to study at the Royal College of Art and was an assistant to the well known sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein. John was the stonemason commissioned to carve the altar, made from Nabrescina marble, and the Stations of the Cross and the Font made from Portland Stone.
Last Mass: Sunday 18 February was the last time Mass was held in the old St Joseph’s and was offered for all those who were baptised, married, confirmed or died during the 65 year history of the old church.
First Mass: This was celebrated in the new St Joseph & St Walburga church on 20 February 1962 by Bishop Restieaux, in the presence of 70 priests, over 30 members of the Guild of St Stephen and hundreds of parishioners. The new St Joseph & St Walburga Church accommodates 350 people, but the large galleries over the aisles and at the back of the church, provides overflow seating for a further 150 people. The Bell Tower is 75ft high, and when first built was surmounted by a large wooden cross, 24ft in height. (This was destroyed in a storm in 2005.) In 1963 the new Presbytery was built, linked by a bridge to the sacristy. It was always planned to build a separate Church Hall, but by the late 1960’s it was realised it was too costly to build, and the crypt, which had never been used as a chapel, was adapted and became the Parish Hall.
Consecration of the Church: The estimated cost of building the new church rose to a final bill of almost £50,000. It took a number of years for the parish to clear the loan, but once this had been done, the church could be consecrated. This ceremony took place on 28 September 1977 and was held to coincide, and be combined with, the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Canon Gallagher’s ordination. The old church building, which incorporated the old presbytery, remained standing until 1986, by which time it had become quite derelict and was demolished to make way for a new car park.
Re-ordering: By 1990 when the church was re-ordered to bring it into line with the current liturgical practice of the time, very little had changed. The few modifications that had been made since 1962 included moving the altar forward so that the priest could face the people, and moving the baptismal font into the church itself, following which the baptistery became the Repository. During the re-ordering the altar rails were removed, the altar reduced in size and brought even nearer to the congregation, the number of levels of the sanctuary were reduced, and an ambo built to replace the pulpit. The side chapels were changed - a Blessed Sacrament Chapel took the place of the Lady Chapel on the left, adjoining the sanctuary, and the St Joseph’s Chapel, on the right of the sacristy entrance, became the Lady Chapel. In November 2018 the tabernacle was restored to its central place in the sanctuary and the altar moved slightly back to allow the priest to walk round it easily. At the same time, the sanctuary carpet was replaced with polished granite.
Stained glass windows: There are 5 stained glass windows in the church, four of which were designed and installed by the monks of Buckfast Abbey. These four windows were commissioned by Canon Richardson when he was Parish Priest and were paid for by parish donations. The stained glass windows made in the Buckfast Abbey glass studio, (which closed in 2002 after the death of Father Charles Norris who designed and made the windows with his helpers), used the ‘dalles de verre’ (tiles of glass) method - very thick “tiles” of chipped glass set in slabs of concrete or resin to make a picture from a “wall of glass”. This style of stained glass lends itself well to modern abstract designs. Because the pieces of glass used are thick, (about 2cm), and the surfaces chipped to make them rough, the patterns shine brightly, just like the old glass in medieval windows. The fifth stained glass window, in the Reconciliation Room, was donated by a parishioner and was made by painting the pictures onto clear glass instead of colouring the glass when it was molten.
Wooden carved statues: The sculptor Tom Preator, of Taunton, was commissioned by Canon Richardson to carve a statue of Our Lady for the new Lady Chapel that was created when the church was re-ordered in 1990. To help mark the Centenary of the Parish in 1995, Canon Richardson commissioned Tom Preator to carve statues of our Patronal Saints - St Walburga and St Joseph. All three statues have been carved out of sycamore.