Building » Newton Aycliffe – St Joseph

Newton Aycliffe – St Joseph

Garburn Place, Newton Aycliffe, Co. Durham DL5

The 1984 work at St Joseph’s is a good piece of modern Catholic architecture, intelligently conceived and executed in fine materials. 

St Joseph’s Primary School was opened in 1968 and its hall found a dual use as a day chapel. In 1984 the hall was extended by a horseshoe-shaped adjunct with a central altar, throne and font. It is served from St Mary’s in the town. 


The original hall is a routine piece of 1960s low-rise school architecture, as is the rest of the original complex. However, the 1984 addition, which lies beyond a roller-shutter screen (opened or not as needs require), provides a remarkable contrast, being a fine, carefully thought-out modern chapel. It incorporates a repository and sacristies (on the right). Outside it displays two apses (with slated roof coverings): a large one for the sanctuary and a smaller one for a sacristy. The main facing is roughly faced grey granite, in regular courses of rectangular blocks. Over the sanctuary is semi-conical slated roof: the sheer face is glazed and lights the altar.

Internally granite appears again for the majority if the walling, proving a gritty texture. The body starts with a short linear space in which are rows of benches for the congregation. The space then opens out into a horseshoe-shaped area as a sanctuary in the centre of which is a massive grey granite altar.  Light is provided from above (as described) and from three slit windows on the left side and one from the right. The underside of the roof has a series of bare, curved wooden planks. In the centre, set on a raised area is a solid granite altar: behind is a throne and to the right a font, also cut from granite. The main floor is laid with parquet blocks. The wooden processional cross is by Fenwick Lawson.

Heritage Details

Architect: W.H.R. Pattisson of Newcastle upon Tyne

Original Date: 1984

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed