Building » Leicester – St Thomas More

Leicester – St Thomas More

Knighton Road, Leicester LE2

A bold brick building of the early 1950s in a stripped basilican style. It is an early post-war design by Reynolds & Scott, who built prolifically in the Diocese of Nottingham (the church is very similar to their St Pius X, Grimsby). The broad west tower is a local landmark.

The parish was formed in 1947 and the church was designed in 1948. The architect F. M. Reynolds offered two designs, with and without side arcades; the former was chosen. Reynolds & Scott also provided the designs for the presbytery. The builders were G. Duxbury & Sons of Leicester. Bishop Ellis laid the foundation stone on 28 October 1950 and the church was opened on 6 July 1952. The church was reordered and a hall built between church and  presbytery in 1994-6, to the designs of Smith & Roper of Bakewell.


The church is a bold design in a stripped Italianate style. The external walls are faced with buff-coloured brick, the pitched roof is covered with pantiles. On plan, the building comprises a nave with tall narrow circulation aisles and sanctuary under one roof, with a broad west tower with a pyramidal roof spanning the full width of the main front with transeptal side-entrance projections. The tower has a deeply- recessed segment-headed central entrance. Above the entrance are two tall round- headed slit windows with an artificial stone crucifix between them. At the head of the tower is a bell-stage with small louvred openings set between battered buttresses. The tall side walls are completely plain with pairs of round-headed lancet windows. The east wall of the sanctuary has a single round window in the gable.

The interior is plastered and painted white. The nave is a wide space with a canted ceiling and four tall round-headed arches on each side leading to narrow passage aisles with the windows high in the wall. The sanctuary is slightly lower than the nave and has a painted ceiling and small side chapels with arched openings into the nave space. The reordering of 1994-6 made several significant changes to the interior. The original west choir gallery was replaced by a fully glazed structure. In the sanctuary the timber baldacchino over the high altar was removed, together with the altar itself and the marble communion rails, and a new octagonal altar was set on the mosaic floor. It was at this time that the sanctuary ceiling was painted. The original timber benches in the nave were retained.

Heritage Details

Architect: Reynolds & Scott

Original Date: 1950

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed