Church View, Low Street, Sherburn-in-Elmet, Leeds 25
St Joseph’s was built in 1984 to serve as both church and parish centre, using good contemporary materials that are shared with the surrounding housing. It has worn well and remains a useful building that fits its setting, but has limited architectural interest.
The expansion of Sherburn in Elmet in the early 1970s encouraged the then parish priest Father Paul Moxon to plan building a church within the new housing to be more accessible than the estate church of the Immaculate Conception, Scarthingwell about three miles to the north. A large plot was bought and a church with attached presbytery built in 1984, the eastern half by Langtry-Langton and Partners. The intention was to build a separate parish centre with car park on the western half, but pending this the architects designed the church to serve both functions, with the small eastern sanctuary bay screened off when the main space was in use for social purposes.
The 1984 church of St Joseph the Worker (and its attached presbytery) is built of pale red bricks with red concrete pantile roofs and white painted wood windows and white PVC bargeboards. The church is a five bay rectangle, with the dominant pitched roof running to eaves set just above the low domestic scale square headed side windows and projecting over the east and west gables. The side wall windows are separated by brick buttresses that correspond to the internal steel trusses. The east wall to the street has a five-light east window set immediately under the main roof apex, over a projecting single storey sanctuary bay. This contains a slightly recessed triangular headed east-facing window of abstract stained glass, with a recessed (foundation?) stone below simply incised with a cross whose side arms are longer than the vertical arms. The short side walls of the sanctuary have large square windows. The west wall also has a tall three light window set immediately under the west gable, to light the internal west gallery.
The church is approached at mid-point from the south link between it and the presbytery, where there are toilets and an office. The large rectangular space is open to the roof structure with a deep wall plate fascia above bare brick walls with raised courses. The main steel trusses are boxed in and rest on moulded concrete corbels – the only architectural decoration – which are in fact light fittings. As the space is used for both worship and social functions, there are few liturgical features and stacking chairs. The single bay sanctuary (containing the tabernacle) has wooden shutters, enabling it to be concealed when the semi-circular carpeted dais (on which the altar table stands) is used as a stage/platform. The parquet floor was apparently salvaged from another church.
The western bay has a gallery over a space (used for small meetings), accessed by a staircase on the north with a kitchen to the south.
Original Date: 1984
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed