Building » Peterborough – Sacred Heart and St Oswald

Peterborough – Sacred Heart and St Oswald

Lincoln Road, Walton, Peterborough, PE4 6AE

A concrete-framed church built in 1959 to serve an expanding area of outer Peterborough. The design is functional and altered but offers a wide and well-lit interior space.

A temporary church dedicated to St Oswald was opened in February 1949. It was replaced by the present permanent church in 1959. The architects were Portess & Richardson of Peterborough, and the design is similar to their later church of Our Lady of Lourdes at Dogsthorpe, Peterborough (qv), begun in 1964. The dedication of the church was changed c.2007 when the Catholic congregation from the joint Anglican/Catholic church of the Holy Spirit, Bretton combined forces with St Oswald’s. When first built, the church had a small west porch. This was considerably enlarged to provide WCs in c.1983 (Marshall Sisson Architect) and now forms a link to the adjacent parish hall, built in c.2014 (Arc Survey & Design). In recent years a small pitched-roofed porch has been built on the north side at the head of an access ramp along the north wall of the church.


The church is a functional modern building constructed with a reinforced concrete frame, walls of buff-coloured brick and roof coverings of concrete tiles. The plan comprises a wide aisleless nave and a narrower sanctuary under a continuous pitched roof, a west porch and a southeast Lady Chapel with a flat-roofed sacristy adjoining. The gabled west front is divided into three sections by brick piers. The centre section originally had a small flat-roofed brick porch with a cantilevered canopy over the door and a large window above rising into the roof gable. The porch has been enlarged and now extends across the whole of the front, the window opening now partly covered with a timber facing framing a reduced triple window opening. The nave side elevations are of five bays with small rectangular windows at low level and larger windows above which effectively form a continuous clerestorey. At the east end of the south side is a small transeptal chapel with a pitched roof and next to that a flat-roofed sacristy. The sanctuary has tall rectangular windows in the side walls and a blind east end.

Internally, the concrete frame is fully exposed. The side walls are plastered, the roof ceiled above the main beams, the floor is of parquet. Across the west end of the nave is a vestibule with a choir gallery above. The windows are clear glazed, apart from the reduced west window, which has figurative stained glass, presumably brought from another church. The lower windows of the side walls are set within tiled segment-headed recesses, as if aisles were intended. At the southeast is a small Lady Chapel, divided from the nave by a timber and glass screen. There is no structural division between the narrower two-bay sanctuary and the nave, and the sanctuary has side walls screening the windows and directing light towards the altar. The east wall is of barefaced brown brickwork with a suspended Crucifix under the original timber canopy. The sanctuary has been reordered, the altar brought forward and the communion rails removed. The original bench seating in the nave has been replaced with chairs. The octagonal stone font is now placed at the west end of the nave.

Heritage Details

Architect: Portess & Richardson

Original Date: 1959

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed