Station Road, Cross Gates, Leeds 15
An unremarkable post-war brick church, built from designs prepared before the war by Stephen Simpson, and much altered and extended in 1980. Notable for its collection of furnishings by David John.
Until the building of St Theresa’s, Catholics in the area attended Mass at the cemetery chapel at Killingbeck. The parish was founded in 1930, when the present site in Station Road was acquired. A school was built first, and was used also for Sunday worship, pending the building of a separate church. A presbytery was built before the war and plans also prepared by Stephen Simpson for a church, but the intervention of war, followed by post-war building restrictions, meant that it was not possible to realise this until 1953. The church was built in only six months, and officially opened by Bishop Heenan in January 1954.
In 1980, the Jubilee year of the parish, a major reordering and extension scheme took place, from designs by architects Alan G. Burnett & Partners of Leeds. This involved the addition of a long entrance lobby with ancillary facilities parallel with the church on the Station Road frontage, as well as the refurnishing of the interior, including new furnishings commissioned from the sculptor David John.
The church is orientated north-south, but this description follows conventional liturgical orientation.
A simple red brick design, with slate roof and later south ‘aisle’/lobby area. There is no external demarcation between nave and sanctuary, the design consisting of eight bays, each bay framed to the sides by pilasters and by brick corbelling above, and each bay containing paired straight-headed narrow lancet windows (renewed with metal frames in 1980). The penultimate bay facing Station Road has a tall brick ‘tower’ feature upon which is placed a crucifix. Blind east wall, with sacristies below and circular brick pattern above, with an applied cross. Large cruciform window set into west wall. The 1980 aisle/lobby area is built of fairly closely-matching brickwork, with brick on edge parapets concealing a flat roof. As well as lobbies, it contains an area for private prayer, a meeting room and WCs.
The interior is a single undivided space, with canted reinforced concrete framed bays subdivisions and a boarded roof. Narrow circulation aisles on either side of the nave. The furnishings belong largely to the 1980 reordering and include timber panelling around the sanctuary, an altar and ambo in Morley stone by David John, a circular wooden font on the cross axis with the new entrance, also by John, new seating (with a central alley in front of the cross axis and occupying the full width of the nave behind this line), carved timber roundels of the Evangelists on the four piers on this cross axis and carved timber Stations of the Cross, also by David John. A crucifix designed by John and originally hung over the altar is now placed on a wall at the west end of the south aisle, and a crucifix previously in the church reinstated on the east wall. Similarly, a carved wooden statue of St Theresa by John has been relegated to the sacristy, and replaced by a catalogue plaster figure. More recently, coloured stained glass of abstract pattern has been installed in the cruciform window at the west end.
Architect: Stephen Simpson
Original Date: 1953
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed