Cedar Road, Fenham, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4
A well-designed building of the post-war years, conventional in plan but with an unusual roof design. It has been carefully adapted and extended to meet changing liturgical and pastoral needs.
Fenham became part of Newcastle only in 1904, with the eighteenth century Fenham Hall at its heart. The parish of St Robert of Newminster was erected in 1930 and the parish hall, then surrounded by fields with no proper roads, was opened that year, serving also as a church. The present church was opened on 17 December 1955 and consecrated on 18 June 1963.
The account of the building in The Northern Catholic Calendar does not name the architect, but the building is attributed here on stylistic grounds to Robert Burke of Newcastle. In 1992 a narthex and meeting room were added, from designs by Vincente Stienlet.
The ritual east is to the north, with the west entrance front facing Cedar Road. The church is in a modern Romanesque style and is of traditional longitudinal plan. The materials are pinkish brick, russet brick plinth and concrete or artificial stone for the dressings; the main roof is covered in red tiles. An imposing gabled entrance front has three steps and a side ramp leading to a central door. The projecting gabled surround has slender projecting jambs and a cross finial. There are similar jambs and mullions projecting over the soldier-course brick sills and lintels of the small paired windows flanking the door and the longer windows of the nave and sanctuary. Above the door is a round window, with artificial stone blocks marking the cardinal points, which sits on a soldier-course band which continues around the church. Other windows, similar but with segmental heads, are in the returns of the entrance bay and in the nave. Projecting from the returns, short west and east transepts have gables over paired lights. The narthex extension of 1992 is a simple timber and glass construction fitted against the ritual northeast side of the entrance.
Inside, the walls are of painted plaster. The concrete posts have top brackets curving to form transverse aisle arches and a coved ceiling over the nave. The transepts meet the ceiling with groined vaults, that over the sanctuary with a rood on a rood beam. There are central and side aisles; blocks of sturdy pews have rail backs and solid ends. The west organ gallery projects over the entrance and side doors; the organ pipes are grouped to respect the curve of the window behind them. In a canted side chapel south of the sanctuary the font has a square stone pedestal, with a copper bowl set into its top surface. There is one step up to the sanctuary, two to the altar, and three to the wide, grey marble tabernacle stand with panelled reredos. The sanctuary has a panelled arcaded dado, marble table altar, and wooden ambo.
Architect: R. A. Burke (unconfirmed attribution); Pascal J. Stienlet & Son
Original Date: 1955
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed