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 in Belgium. 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. It was originally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St Philomena but in the 1960s became simply the Sacred Heart Church.
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 re-clad in copper 1966. North-west and
south-west towers flank west end of clerestoried nave with aisles;
south-west porch, chapels, baptistry, confessionals and lower chancel.
Romanesque style. 6-stage towers have continuous deep chamfered plinths.
Tall trefoil-headed recess holding oculus, round-headed window and slit
light, in lower 3 stages; blind 3-bay triangular-headed arcade in 4th stage;
and 3-bay round-arcaded bell openings with louvres and hoodmoulds in 2
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. 3-bay nave and aisles, bays
defined by pilaster strips in aisles, and gabled buttresses in clerestorey.
Paired round-headed windows. Projecting octagonal baptistry, 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. 4 stepped
round-headed windows in 2-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.
Original Date: 1930
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: II