Owton Manor Lane, Hartlepool TS25 3QG
A nicely detailed, conventionally designed church built to serve a post-war housing estate, by the well-regarded Newcastle firm of Pascal J. Stienlet & Son. It retains original nave seating but the sanctuary fittings all date from a reordering in the 1980s.
The parish was established to serve the growing Owton Manor Estate; it became clear that St Teresa’s was too small to serve the large estate when parishioner numbers reached 3,600. Fr Redmond bought land on Owton Manor Lane, and the church and presbytery were planned and built in a short space of time, from designs by Pascal J. Stienlet & Son. The church, designed to seat 350, was opened on St Patrick’s Day, 17 March 1961 by Bishop Cunningham. The contractors were W.W. Brazell of West Hartlepool. The presbytery was built at the same time, and a youth club added in 1962.
The sanctuary was reordered initially in the 1960s, when the altar rails were removed and again in the 1980s when new fittings were provided.
The church is aligned roughly north-south with the sanctuary to the south; in this description, liturgical compass points will be used.
The west end of the church faces Owlton Manor Lane, with a squat gabled campanile to the northeast corner. A single-storey flat-roofed block, containing sacristy and office, connects the south side of the church to the presbytery. The aisleless seven-bay nave and sanctuary are under one continuous roof, with the shallow sanctuary expressed by set-back side walls cut by narrow vertical side-lights between brick piers. The blind elevation has an integral concrete cross. The building is faced in a buff brick laid in stretcher bond, with concrete dressings; ribbed panels below nave windows are formed from columns of diagonally set bricks. Leaded windows are segmental-headed, with steel hoppers for ventilation and polycarbonate protective sheeting. The glazed clay pantiled roof has plain eaves and coped verges to gable ends. Rainwater goods are cast-iron.
The light, spacious interior is a single volume, extending into the sanctuary to the east, with a narthex below a gallery to the west. The walls are fair-faced brickwork, with rectangular brick piers defining the sanctuary and side chapels. The sanctuary is elegantly lit by side-lights screened by full-height curved brick fins. Side chapels have pairs of small side windows. A semi-elliptical vaulted plaster ceiling runs from the central aisle into the sanctuary, with lower boxed sections over the aisles concealing steel lattice girders. The floor is laid with thermoplastic tiles below the seating, with carpeted aisles. The narthex has four sets of oak, glazed doors, with a ribbed oak gallery front. Original fittings include oak pews. The marble and stone sanctuary fittings all date from the 1980s. The original baptistery in the northeast corner is now a bookstall. The sacristy retains a good set of oak fittings.
Architect: Pascal J. Stienlet & Son
Original Date: 1961
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed