Building » Peterlee – Our Lady of the Rosary

Peterlee – Our Lady of the Rosary

Passfield Way, Peterlee, Co. Durham SR8

A big-boned modern church of the mid-1960s by David Brown, built to serve the New Town of Peterlee.  The concrete portal framed building retains much of its original rather austere character, both externally and internally.

The church was built on a new site to serve Peterlee, which was designated as a New Town in 1948.  The original masterplan for the town was prepared by Berthold Lubetkin but he resigned in 1950 and his plan was abandoned in favour of a more conventional layout.  Building work the town began in the early 1950s and continued through the 1960s.

The parish of Our Lady of the Rosary was erected in 1954, and the present church built in 1966, from designs by David Brown of Newcastle. 


A modern design on a conventional plan.  The building is faced with blue industrial brick laid in stretcher bond, with metal windows in concrete frames and roof coverings of copper. The plan comprises an aisleless nave under a shallow-pitched roof with a small northwest apsidal baptistery; a substantial crossing tower with clerestory windows, a hipped pyramidal roof and a tall fleche and tall north and south  transepts.  There is no eastern projection beyond the crossing. The west end wall has a central doorway flanked by figured concrete panels; above is a large five-light window rising into the gable. The nave sides have five tall window openings rising the full height of the walls with the lower parts of the openings filled with rendered panels.  The transept side walls have two similar windows and the end walls have broad three-light windows arranged like the west gable.  The east wall is blind.

Internally the members of the concrete portal frame are exposed and those at the corners of the crossing form a cross-vault. The walls are plastered throughout and the shallow-pitched ceiling has acoustic panels. The windows are all clear glazed.  The nave has a timber west gallery with the organ.  The south transept is divided off from the crossing by a timber screen.  As reordered, the altar is set on raised black marble dais under the crossing.

Heritage Details

Architect: David Brown

Original Date: 1966

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed