Building » Middlesbrough – Sacred Heart and St Patrick

Middlesbrough – Sacred Heart and St Patrick

Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough


The massive bulk of this church has a very un-English appearance. This is because it was modelled on the Romanesque abbey church of the Benedictine monastery of St André at Kopen near Bruges. The interior is especially notable for its mosaic decoration and ornamental stone and marble. The mosaic-lined baptistery and the Harry Clarke stained glass are also notable features. All this adds up to a building with a striking external presence and an interior of unusually lavish decoration.

The foundation stone (behind the font) is dated 1930 and the church was opened in 1932. Its architect, J. Coomans of Ypres, was also responsible for the reconstruction of the Cloth Hall and the Cathedral of St Martin, both at Ypres, after their destruction in the First World War. The church was originally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St Philomena, but after the Holy See instructed the name of Philomena to be removed from local calendars in the 1960s it was changed to Sacred Heart and St Patrick.

The list description, below,  provides the essential information about the building. It might be added, however, that the sanctuary terminates in a polygonal apse.

*Entry amended by AHP 18.03.2023*

List description


Roman Catholic Church, 1931-32 by J. Coomans (Ypres) and Kitching & Co. (Middlesbrough). Mottled buff brick, with Portland stone dressings. Lakeland slate roofs; tower roofs reclad in copper 1966. Northwest and southwest towers flank west end of clerestoried nave with aisles; southwest porch, chapels, baptistery, confessionals and lower chancel. Romanesque style. Six-stage towers have continuous deep chamfered plinths. Tall trefoil-headed recess holding oculus, round-headed window and slit light, in lower three stages; blind three-bay triangular-headed arcade in fourth stage; and three-bay round-arcaded bell openings with louvres and hoodmoulds in two uppermost stages. Shallow pyramidal roofs with cross finials and weather vanes. West end of nave has central carved panelled and part-glazed double doors in slightly-projecting gabled doorcase; nook shafts with waterleaf capitals and bases. Mosaic depicting Christ in tympanum; and cross finial. Flanking oculi and round-headed windows, and central rose window with cusped plate tracery, all within round-headed recess. Round-headed, louvred vent in gable. Shaped-corbelled verge with moulded copings and cross finial. Gabled porch adjoins south-west tower. Panelled door in similar surround with mosaic roundel in tympanum. Three-bay nave and aisles, bays defined by pilaster strips in aisles, and gabled buttresses in clerestorey. Paired round-headed windows. Projecting octagonal baptistery, with oculi and pyramidal roof, adjoins west end bay of north aisle. Low, flat-roofed confessionals project from middle bay and from extruded one-bay hip-roofed chapels, with oculi and round-headed windows, flanking transepts. Four stepped round-headed windows in two-bay transepts, with pilaster strips flanking bays and blind triangular-headed clerestorey arcades. Half duodecagonal, pyramidal-roofed chancel with similar windows, blind clerestorey arcade, and bronze cross finial. Eaves generally have stepped brick corbelling and plain soffit. Hipped and gabled roofs. One-storey offices adjoin north side of chancel.

INTERIOR plastered with 3-bay round arcades; similar transverse arches in lateral vaulted aisles and nave. Similar transept and chancel arches. Saucer-domed ceiling in crossing and half-domed chancel. West organ gallery with arcaded balustraded front, over glazed wood screen of 1965. Mosaics, 1961-67 by Ludwig Oppenheimer Ltd. (Manchester) on walls throughout and in chancel dome, depict saints, scenes from life of Christ, stations of the cross, Resurrection and Transfiguration. Marble dado panelling in chancel. Good stained glass by Henry Clarke (Dublin). Elaborate marble altar table of 1954 and 7-bay marble reredos.

Heritage Details

Architect: J. Coomans and Kitching & Co.

Original Date: 1930

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II