Building » Goole – St Joseph and St Thomas

Goole – St Joseph and St Thomas

Pasture Road, Goole, East Riding of Yorkshire

An interesting use of Free Style Gothic features and cast concrete for ‘stone’ details (including doors, windows and the statue of St Joseph on the tower). The impressive interior space appears more centrally planned because of the c1995 western hall but it remains coherent; few original fittings survive.

A mission was established in Adam Street, Goole in 1864. Soon after Fr Pearson became priest at the new St Thomas’s Church in Old Goole in 1875, he could see that the centre of population was moving west away from the developing docks. In 1894, he purchased the site of St Joseph’s for £600 and by 1907 a chapel-of-ease had been established in Carter Street nearby. The architects Lowther & Rigby created presentation drawings of the proposed church and presbytery (adjacent to the south corner) in 1911, and the foundation stone was laid in 1912. The contractors were Messrs Jackson and Dimberline of Hull. The estimated cost including the tower was £3,000 but possibly for financial reasons (the First World War?), the design of the church was simplified by omitting the nave clerestorey and running the nave roof from ridge to aisle eaves. The northwest tower (costing £758 18s 5d) was built with funds from the estate of Fr Pearson, who had died in 1908; there is a separate commemorative foundation stone in the northwest tower buttress. On completion in 1915, the parish was formally established. The presbytery to the southwest was never built and priests have lived in houses nearby. In 1924 a wooden hall was erected on its intended site; this was demolished in 2002 and the area grassed over and dedicated by Bishop Roche in 2004.

The sanctuary was reordered in 1977, with a forward altar re-using the mensa from the apse on a new base faced with Sicilian marble. Hall functions were incorporated into the church (in 1995-6?) by extending the western gallery across the westernmost bay of the nave, erecting a solid wall above a glazed ground floor screen. A large octagonal font of Indian white marble was commissioned in 2002.

The original parish of St Thomas was amalgamated with St Joseph in 1991 and the 1877 church of St Thomas (by Goldie & Child) closed in 1996. With the adjacent school (Hadfield 1870, closed 1980), presbytery and convent buildings, it was sold in 1999 and partly converted to housing.


The church is built to a northwest/southeast axis with the street plan, but liturgical compass points are used.

The church is built of red brick with cast concrete dressings and a red tile roof. The large rectangular mass of the four bay aisled nave is accentuated by its sweeping cat-slide roof that is interrupted by two linked tall gables over the two central aisle bays. The projecting western nave gallery bay is flanked by a tall northwest tower porch and southwest single storey baptistery (now a kitchen). The lower single bay of the apsidal chancel is flanked with even lower transeptal chapels. There is a large single storey flat roofed vestry attached to the south east.

The Free Style Gothic ‘stone’ detailing of doors, windows and gables (including the tower) is executed in cast concrete, which remains crisp and unweathered. This is especially true of the large cast figure of St Joseph that stands within a traceried niche high on the north face of the tower facing the centre of Goole. The impressive west facade rises above solid oak double west doors under a curved gable with a partly battlemented upper gable interrupting the sill of the three tall lancets. These light the gallery of the nave and are enclosed by a pointed arch that reaches into the gable. The gable cross fell some years ago, but the original metal ornamented cross on the tower was refurbished when the tower was re-pointed about 2000.

The internal nave space is almost square now that the deep western gallery has been walled up to the ridge (it had a bow front) and so it appears very spacious. The three bay nave arcades rise to wall plate level, with a sinuous curved moulding running around the arches, like the main door hood moulding. The simply chamfered piers have an attached shaft to the main space, which terminates in a capital that sits awkwardly under the arched braces. There is decorative wooden tracery infill between the collar and the ridge of each main truss. The tall paired lancets of the central aisle bay have transverse roofs throwing light into the central space. The flanking aisle bays on the north have small paired lancets, but on the south are lit by wooden dormer windows (as the presbytery was to be built on that side). The single straight bay of the chancel is flanked by chapels north and south (leading to the southeast vestry) and the apse has a five part ceiling, the ribs resting on short attached shafts. The large area under the west gallery is screened from the church by glass, with the kitchen in the former southwest baptistery, with toilets to the south and two confessionals to the north beyond the porch under the tower (also with solid oak outer doors). There is no stained glass, but the opaque and coloured textured glass is apparently original, as are the metal light brackets at wall plate level and the pews.

Heritage Details

Architect: Lowther & Rigby

Original Date: 1913

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed