Building » Hartlepool – St John Vianney

Hartlepool – St John Vianney

King Oswy Drive, West View Estate, Hartlepool TS24 9LX

A large post-war church built to serve a housing estate, economically built and with a functional interior. The campanile is a local landmark. 

The parish of St John Vianney was created in 1959 to serve the growing West View Estate, on the north side of Hartlepool. The parish covered part of the area previously within the parish of St Thomas More (qv), and the building of both churches was instigated by Fr Patrick Lacey.  St John Vianney is a more ambitious church than St Thomas More and, together with the presbytery, cost £47,000; it was designed to seat 550 people. The church was opened by Bishop Cunningham on 4 April 1961. The presbytery was built at the same time. The architect was Thomas Crawford of Middlesbrough and the contractors Messrs A. Gilmore & Co. of Langley Moor.


The church is aligned with the sanctuary to the east. The building comprises a five-bay nave with aisles, taller sanctuary, west narthex and attached southwest campanile. The single-storey sacristy forms a link with the presbytery on the south side. The church is faced in red brick laid in stretcher bond with pre-cast concrete dressings. The nave and sanctuary roofs are laid with clay tiles, with coped verges. The aisles and side chapels have flat roofs behind parapets. Rainwater goods are cast iron, with boxed eaves to the nave roof. The west gable end facing Nesbyt Road has double doors with side lights, and above a tall square-headed tripartite window, in upvc, all set within a moulded concrete frame. The four-bay nave has tall square headed steel windows grouped in threes, with window grilles. The campanile has a copper pyramidal roof above the open concrete-framed bell stage, double south doors, square windows and concrete cross to south face.

The interior is lofty and well-lit, but austere.  The nave ceiling is lined with acoustic tiles, with sloping longitudinal sections carried on the aisle arcade which consists of plain columns (plaster over steel) supporting hidden steelwork. The plastered aisle ceiling is lower than the nave ceiling. Walls are plain plastered. The narthex is separated from the nave by hardwood glazed screens and doors, and the gallery has an acoustic panelled front. The nave floor is laid with linoleum tiles with carpet to aisles. The re-ordered sanctuary is side-lit, has modern stone liturgical fittings but retains the original hardwood maple reredos and canopy, framed in mahogany and ebony. The side chapels are plain, with recent fittings. Other fittings include a re-set Gothic organ case, hardwood Stations of the Cross and mahogany nave pews supplied by Messrs Hearne & Co. of Waterford, Ireland.  

Heritage Details

Architect: Crawford & Spencer, Middlesbrough

Original Date: 1961

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed