Easington Road, Hartlepool TS24
A typical example of the many modest, well-built churches built to serve post-war housing estates. The interior is attractive, although fairly plain, but retains 1950s nave seating and lighting, and a contemporary altar, relocated and remodelled for a reordering in the 1980s.
The parish of St Thomas More was erected in 1951, after the re-organisation of the West View parish, founded from St Mary’s. This parish was created to serve the large West View post-war housing estate, developed on the north side of Hartlepool. The present parish of St Thomas contains areas formerly within St Joseph’s as well as St Mary’s parish. The first priest was Fr Patrick Lacey, who initially said Mass at the Bruce Arms Hotel and in the Siemens canteen. The church and presbytery were built at a cost of £15,500, and the church opened on 19 December 1953. The architect is given in The Twentieth Century Church as Thomas Crawford of Middlesbrough, and the design certainly shares features in common with other churches by the firm such as St Cuthbert and St John Vianney (qv). The sanctuary was reordered in 1980.
The church is orientated with the sanctuary to the north, and for this description, liturgical compass points will be used. The aisleless church is planned in a single volume with the sanctuary expressed by a lower roof, lit by side-lights. The presbytery is connected to the southeast corner of the church by the sacristy. The exterior is faced in a pale orange brick laid in stretcher bond, with contrasting bands to the eaves, and concrete projecting frames to pairs of square-headed doors and windows. The windows are steel with ventilation hoppers. The roof is covered with red clay pantiles, with coped verges to the gables, and deep eaves. Rainwater goods are in cast-iron. The west front facing the main road has a central section that breaks forward, with a tripartite window above oak double doors, and concrete cross finial. The entrance is framed in concrete with a flat concrete canopy.
The well-lit interior has a conventional arrangement of west narthex below a gallery, and shallow sanctuary to the east beyond a segmental arch. Walls are plain plastered, and the ceiling is formed as a shallow segmental vault finished in acoustic tiles. The floor is laid with linoleum tiles below the pews. Fittings are in oak and include pews, door joinery and Stations of the Cross. The sanctuary fittings include the 1952 stone altar which was reduced in length and brought forward in 1980, when the altar rails were removed. The nave retains original 1950s pendant light fittings.
Architect: Thomas Crawford
Original Date: 1953
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed