Building » Stockton-on-Tees – St Bede

Stockton-on-Tees – St Bede

Bishopton Road, Stockton-on-Tees TS18

Built shortly after World War II and despite an evidently modest budget, displaying an enterprising plan and handling of spaces, creating a refreshing and interesting interior. However, it is not a building of special architectural or historical significance. 

Consecrated on 5 December 1951 and serving an expanding part of Stockton, this was the one of the first new churches to be built in the diocese after the war.  The land had been acquired some time earlier by Canon Taylerson. The identity of the architect has not been established, but the design appears to betray the hand of Robert Burke of Newcastle (e.g. compare with that for Backworth, 1954, especially the interior).

The church is built of red brick with imitation stone dressings for the window surrounds and mullions. It consists of a nave, a slightly lower, three-bay sanctuary, narrow aisles, a porch, repository, sacristy, and a two pairs of transepts opening up off the nave. The main roofs, over the nave and sanctuary are flat. The unusual feature is the transepts. One opens up off the west bay of the nave, the other from the eastern bay: they are slightly higher than the rest and have transverse pitched roofs: they have three-light windows under round-arched heads and have mullions and ‘stonework’ in the heads which is suggestive of the Cross. The other windows are three plain, square-headed metal-framed lights, including the shallow clerestory on the nave.

The interior has a clean, airy appearance but none of the sense of cheapness that would be characteristic of so many churches built just a few years later. The walls are plastered and whitened apart from the lower parts of the aisle walls which are of bare red brick. The planning is traditional in so far as there is a nave with aisles and a separately articulated sanctuary. However, it is inside that the effects of the transepts are best seen. Whereas the four central bays of the nave have a relatively low set of openings between square concrete piers and with a clerestory over, the transepts rise to the full height of the building and engender a visually interesting effect.

There are no fixtures and fittings that need particular mention.

Heritage Details

Architect: R. A. Burke LRIBA (unconfirmed attribution)

Original Date: 1951

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed