Building » Dunston – St Philip Neri

Dunston – St Philip Neri

Ellison Road, Dunston, Gateshead NE28

An unusual design, probably originally built in about 1905 as a timber-framed temporary church, which was re-clad with what appears to be cast artificial stone in the 1930s.  The original interior largely survives.  

Before 1882 services were held in a hired room in Tynedale Terrace and then a hay loft in Bolam Street (serving as a dual purpose school and church). In 1882 a new dual purpose church and school building was built from the designs of Dunn & Hansom. Lack of funds meant that the planned presbytery could not be built and the priest continued to live in Tynedale Terrace until a new presbytery was built in 1884.

The dual-purpose building served until 1905 when a temporary church was built. This was followed in 1909 by an extension to the school building and the opening of the infant school as a separate department.

In 1934 the Edwardian church appears to have been re-clad (although the Northern Catholic Calendar for 1935 says that it was ‘completely reconstructed’).  The 2008 QI report suggests that the reconstruction consisted of stripping the 1905 timber-framed building of its cladding – probably corrugated iron –  and replacing it with stone or artificial stone. The tower was also added in the 1930s.


The church is of traditional form, with a nave and short sanctuary under a continuous pitched roof, north and south aisles with pent roofs, a west porch and a small southeast tower.  The external cladding appears to be of artificial stone blocks, possibly with some natural stone, laid in regular courses.  The roof coverings are slate, recently renewed on the aisles. At the west of the church is a two storey continuation of the nave, which contains the organ gallery, and has a square battlemented porch on its west face.  The slightly taller nave is of seven bays on the south side and six on the north side, with rectangular timber windows with leaded lights in the aisles and smaller windows of similar shape and type in the clerestory. The tower stands alongside the sanctuary.

Internally the building seems to be constructed entirely of timber, with a timber western organ gallery under a semi-circular boarded ceiling, timber arcades on chamfered timber posts and a timber collar roof with metal bracing.  The walls are all lined with vertical timber boarding, now painted. The sanctuary has a semi-circular arched ceiling and walls lined with timber wainscot.  The timber main altar and reredos could date from the early twentieth century, but the nave altar and reading desk are clearly fairly modern.  The benches in the nave probably date from the 1930s.

Heritage Details

Architect: Not established

Original Date: 1905

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed