Hull - St Anthony and Our Lady of Mercy

Beverley Road, Hull, East Yorkshire

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A striking 1960s church design by a local architectural practice, with complete period fittings. Robert Carson considered the chapel ‘so successful in its design and furnishings, a chapel of such remarkable beauty, that one begins to take a real pride in 20th century architecture.’

St Anthony & Our Lady of Mercy only became a parish in 1976, having originally formed part ofEndsleighTeacherTrainingCollege. Endsleigh House was bought in 1899 and used as a Catholic private school. In 1905 it was converted to a teacher training college with sixteen students and two student Sisters. College buildings were erected to the designs of Joseph Henry Hirst. A chapel was opened in 1908 and further college buildings were added in 1928 and, more extensively, in 1960, by which time the college accommodation had reached 650. The present parish church was opened as the college chapel in 1965. Changes in Government education policy in 1974 caused the merger of the college with other facilities inHulland the campus was closed. 

The church is fan-shaped in plan. Concrete portal frame with yellow brick infill. Shallow-pitched sheet metal clad roof. The main rear wall is flat (apart from the canted projection of the sanctuary) and blind, with a parapet, and extends across the building at full height. From this wall the main body of the church radiates, three facetted bays to either side, with a saw tooth eaves line, then a projecting square block which houses the narthex and west gallery. The saw tooth eaves continue just above the entrance block to complete the fan shape. Attached to the other side of the main wall are the low, square projections of the side chapels and sacristies and a concrete framed bell tower with shallow pitched roof. The entrance block is clad is artificial stone, has a wide, glazed screen with central doors and a thin flat canopy. Above this an inset panel of decorative mosaic by Ludwig Oppenheimer Ltd ofManchester(the firm ceased trading in 1965). The facetted elevations have large glazed areas (reduced on the easternmost bay) set in a bold concrete grid of mullions and transoms, tripartite in the centre with a border of smaller divisions. The bell tower is placed in the centre of the east wall and has a port cullis-like bell-opening facing west.

The interior is a light and spacious essentially single cell, with the shallow canted projection of the sanctuary (top lit by a row of seven small circular skylights), the low side chapels and the organ gallery. The concrete portal frame provides a dramatic grid radiating from the centre of the east wall. Sanctuary fittings in contrasting marbles, by Toffolo & Son ofHull, designed as a piece. Similar marble altar in the northeast side chapel. The chapels have subtle shallow-pitched arches. West gallery also with circular skylights. Organ pipes at either end arranged within a striking double-curve enclosure, like a grand piano in plan. Open-backed pews and original light fittings. Stained glass by Leo Earley of Earley & Co. of Dublin. Stations of the Cross, wooden relief panels set within integral frames, somewhat stark.

Diocese: Middlesbrough

Architect: Williams, Sleight & Company of Hull

Original Date: 1965

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not listed