Building » Forest Hall – St Mary

Forest Hall – St Mary

Great Lime Road, Forest Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne NE12

A plain but subtly-detailed church of the early 1960s, quietly contemporary in character. The interior has good, solid furnishings, and has been reorientated, with the sanctuary on the long axis. 

The parish was created in 1952 out of the Longbenton parish of St Aidan. The church, seating 450, was built in 1961 from designs by Edward Gunning of Eldon Square, Newcastle (contractors Alex Anderson of Newcastle). It was re-ordered, probably between 1998 and 2001, when the sanctuary was placed on the long axis on the (ritual north) side of the church, and the original sanctuary became the parish hall.

The church is designed in a quiet contemporary style, built of dark russet brick with paler panels flanking the entrance and darker bricks forming the window jambs; concrete dressings.  A low-pitched roof, its covering not visible. It is a simple building with one-bay narthex, four-bay nave, four-bay west hall with projections for link to presbytery at ritual west and for hall entrance at ritual east. The west entrance facing Great Lime Road has deep projecting fins sheltering the central bay where a tall window projects over the deeply-recessed double door. The shallow roof forms a pointed gable with cross finial and deep eaves. In the lower part of the flanking walls, soldier brick crosses are pierced by six small lozenge-shaped windows. In the right return a larger lozenge window below the eaves and above that is a single door with copper-covered pointed hood. The windows of the hall are the larger lozenge shapes. The nave windows are tall, with single mullion and three transoms; all windows have projecting sills and pointed hoods.

Inside, the building is shown to be of concrete of portal frame construction, and the walls are plastered, painted white. The concrete frame was originally painted ‘ecclesiastical purple’. The full-width narthex has hardwood timber partitions – perhaps mahogany – and stairs to the west gallery. The nave has a pierced timber parapet to the gallery, high-quality pews with back rails and solid ends, and two steps to the altar and tabernacle stand. Sanctuary furniture is of timber in blocks or slabs, except for a glass font bowl and low-relief tabernacle. The tall reredos has two central panels, each with two gilded icons by Sister Petra Clare, flanking the tabernacle, and pierced shutters covering two windows. A crucifix and the Stations of the Cross are arranged on the south wall of the nave.

Heritage Details

Architect: E. A. Gunning ARIBA

Original Date: 1961

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed