Building » Middlesbrough (South Bank) – St Peter

Middlesbrough (South Bank) – St Peter

Middlesbrough Road, South Bank, Middlesbrough

The present church of 1903-5 replaced a smaller school-chapel of 1874, which is still standing. Apart from the small cupola straddling the roof ridge towards the east end of the nave and the detail of the glazing, most of the external features would suggest a building of rather earlier date. Inside the uninterrupted vista up the nave into the chancel, the striking ceiled hammerbeam roof, wooden vaulting in the aisles, and polished brown granite piers add up to an interior of great distinction. The west façade fronting the road forms a significant local landmark in an area of deprivation.

The Middlesbrough Catholic mission was established in 1848, and the church of St Mary in Sussex Street (later the Cathedral) was completed in 1877 from designs by George Goldie. From some time in the 1860s, services were held in South Bank (known then as North Eston) in a former Drill Shed on Normanby Road, opposite the end of Nelson Street.

In 1873-4 a dual-purpose school-chapel was built on the corner of Middlesbrough Road and Milbank Street (architect Martin Carr), with a large presbytery and further school building following in 1885 (the latter later demolished, and the former, like the original school-chapel, unoccupied and derelict at the time of writing).

The foundation stone of the present church, built on the other side of Milbank Road, was laid on 2 July 1903 and the church, designed by Brodrick, Lowther & Walker of Hull, was opened in November 1905. In 1909 two bells cast by Taylor’s of Loughborough were consecrated and the tower clock installed, and in 1912 an organ built by Jules Anneessens of Menin, Belgium, was installed in the gallery at the west end.

On 30 July 1922, a concrete Calvary group was unveiled outside the church, a memorial to those in the parish who gave their lives in the 1914-18 war. The artist was J. A. O. Connell.

The church suffered bomb damage in World War II. Losses included the richly-carved gables over the main doorways and a stone statue of St Peter in a niche above (subsequently replaced). There was also some damage to the windows, and shrapnel damage to the Calvary group.

1960s reordering included the removal of the high altar, nave pulpit and font. The bare-looking appearance of the sanctuary was ameliorated in the 1990s when a scheme of painted polychromy was reinstated in this area and the church redecorated in line with the original scheme (architect Peter Gaze Pace of York). In c. 2000 the organ was restored with an HLF grant. 

In 2002 a new parish of St Andrew’s was created, encompassing the churches of St Andrew (Teesville), St Peter (South Bank) and St Anne (Eston), served from St Andrew’s.

The list description, below, covers the essential features of the church. However, the sacristan’s house adjoining the north side of the chancel is contemporary with the church, and not a later addition. Attention might also be drawing to the glazing, which has attractive Art Nouveau-style leading typical of the 1900s. 

The Calvary and former presbytery (now sold) are separately listed, grade II.

List description


Roman Catholic Church, 1903/05 by Lowther (Hull). Brick with stone dressings; plain clay tile roofs. Disoriented, terms used are ritual. Continuous aisled nave and chancel with half-octagonal apse, south porch, short pent transepts, and north-west tower. Decorated style with curvilinear tracery and French Gothic style tower. 3-stage tower has angle buttresses rising to short pyramid-capped turrets. Lower stages have lancets under hoodmoulds; canted porch in north face. Paired lancet bell openings with louvres and cusped heads. Clock faces below eaves of steeply-pitched, sprocketed, hipped roof, with ball-and-spike finials. West end of nave has similar angle buttresses, flanking boarded double doors, with scrolled strap hinges, under shouldered heads, in paired pointed surrounds of 3 moulded orders on nook shafts and foliate capitals. Enriched hoodmoulds, gargoyles in spandrels and richly-carved tympana. Tall paired windows with nook shafts, flanking figure of St. Peter in niche with enriched corbel and hood. Rood in gable. 4-bay north aisle and 5-bay south aisle; each has hip-roofed canted projecting chapel. Gabled porch has similar doors and surround. Transepts canted at east ends. Tapered timber and metal ridge vent, on nave, has cusped-headed openings, ogee-domed roof and weather vane; louvres missing. 

INTERIOR: 6-bay arcades have compound granite shafts and foliate capitals. Round wall shafts, with carved capitals, between apse windows. Foundation stone dated 1903 on north side of apse. West gallery, holding organ, over glazed timber screen. Ceiled hammerbeam roof has cusped curved braces with enriched pendants. Pointed cross-vaulting in aisles. Stucco stations of cross on aisle walls. Wrought iron screens in easternmost bays of arcades. Similar communion rails. Later house and offices, adjoining north side of chancel, are not of special interest. Listing NGR: NZ5321020806


Amended by AHP 26.03.2023

Heritage Details

Architect: Brodrick, Lowther & Walker

Original Date: 1903

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II