Building » South Shields – Holy Rosary

South Shields – Holy Rosary

Horsley Hill Square, South Shields, Tyne & Wear NE34

A large conventional post-war church erected shortly after the Second Vatican Council. The church has been reordered and subdivided to form a weekday chapel.

The parish was erected in 1955 to serve the Marsden and Horsley Hill housing estates. Mass was said in St Gregory’s school until a presbytery was built in 1958. The contract for the church was ready in October 1964 but building work was delayed until December 1966. By then, the sanctuary had been redesigned to suit the new liturgy. The church was opened on 30 April 1968. The architect was Anthony J. Rossi and the contractor was Randle & Co of Sunderland.

In 1980, the adjacent Rosary Hall was built, connecting church and house. The church was re-ordered in the late 1980s, which probably included the subdivision of the church to create a small weekday chapel in the former east end. The church is now served from St Bede’s, South Shields.


The church is a steel portal-framed structure with bricks in stretcher bond and artificial stone dressings. The roof is covered in interlocking clay tiles. The plan is rectangular with narrower east and west ends. A small chapel to the north and a southwest porch are both under low cross roofs. The blind east end has a centrally-placed chimney. The west end has a recessed central bay with a central window of three triangular-headed lights flanked by vertical strip pilasters beyond which are two straight-headed two-light windows. Above and below the windows are beige ceramic tiles. The narrow western bay has three lancets on each side. The nave has five large windows to the south, of five lights each, and three to the north. The east end has five-light windows to the north and south.

Above the narthex is the projecting organ gallery with a centrally-placed pipe organ. The repository in the northwest of the narthex has a window to the nave and may have been a children’s room originally. In front of the window is a timber statue of the Virgin Mary. The nave has a plasterboard ceiling with decoratively patterned panels and recessed lights. The benches are arranged in a V-pattern and the timber platform is asymmetrically placed in the northeast corner. The sanctuary furniture includes the altar, lectern, circular font and tabernacle stand, all of polished blue pearl granite. The latter is placed in front of a window to the northeast chapel, the former Lady Chapel. This chapel has a timber altar and is also used as a reconciliation room. A large timber crucifix hangs on the east wall. A door in the southeast corner leads into the small weekday chapel in the former east end. The Stations of the Cross are unframed timber reliefs.

Heritage Details

Architect: Anthony J. Rossi

Original Date: 1968

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed