Building » Darlington – St Teresa

Darlington – St Teresa

Harris Street, Darlington, Co. Durham DL1

A brick-built church of 1970 with an interesting plan and architectural geometry. It displays its architect’s moving away from the traditional longitudinal plan adopted in his buildings of the mid-1960s towards a more intimate plan geared towards the demands of the new liturgy.

Before the building of the present church, use was made of a pair of Nissen huts on a different site. The present church was designed by David Brown & Associates of Newcastle and opened in 1970.


The church is an interesting modern design, being of buff brick construction under both pitched copper-sheeted (for the main body) and flat-felted roofs (for the flanking spaces). The plan is basically trapezoidal with a projection on the short, approach side for a porch-cum-baptistery (an irregular hexagon in plan), and a bigger projection facing this for the sanctuary. North of the sanctuary is a round-apsed chapel, with a vertical glazed face on the west to admit light. Running along the long sides of the building are narrow ‘aisles’ which accommodate confessionals, a shrine, a storage area etc. A major motif is the use of large, tall clerestory windows with four five-light openings down the long sides: on the short side is a single five-light window. Lighting the sanctuary area are other tall, square-topped windows.

The light, tall interior is pleasantly spacious. It is faced with bare bricks, apart from the east walls of the chapel and sanctuary which have a slightly rough finish and are painted a light orange. In the sanctuary this forms a backdrop to a large textile hanging. The ceiling is flat over the western part and then rises up in a continuous slope to the east wall of the sanctuary. Four banks of bench seating focus on the sanctuary which has a series of steps and crazy-paved marble flooring.                                    

Fittings and furnishings:

  • Stained glass: the lower parts of the clerestory have a miscellany of saints, scenes from the Life of Christ and devotional subjects. They have been added piecemeal as donors have come forward and the series is yet to be completed. The concept is an attractive one although the glass is not of particular distinction.
  • Hanging: a large hanging against the east wall shows Christ crucified; it was made in association with Sr Anthony Wilson at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Heritage Details

Architect: David Brown & Associates of Newcastle

Original Date: 1970

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed