Building » Sunderland – Sacred Heart and St John Bosco

Sunderland – Sacred Heart and St John Bosco

Chiswick Road, Hylton Castle Estate, Sunderland SR5

A functional design of the 1950s, built as a parish hall and serving a post-war housing estate. 

The church was built as the church of the Sacred Heart in 1958 to serve the Hylton Castle estate. In the words of the Catholic Building Review, it was ‘designed to be used as a church only for the present, but to be easily adapted to form a parish hall at some later date when a proper church can be provided’. In the event the building has remained in use as a church. The building was built from the designs of R. A. Ronchetti LRIBA of Harrogate, and the tender cost was around £13,000. The church was built to connect with an existing presbytery. It was opened by Bishop Cunningham on 24 September 1958, and seated 340 people.

The dedication of the church was changed to include St John Bosco after the demolition of the latter church, a dual-purpose church and hall. The parish is served by the Order of Discalced Carmelites.


A functional design intended to become a parish hall, with a laminated timber portal frame and clad externally in Fletton brick with a pantile-clad pitched roof. The windows are of uPVC. Because this is a mining area, the church was built on a reinforced concrete raft. The plan consists of western vestibule (originally with baptistery and store), aisleless nave, sanctuary, sacristy, confessionals and a meeting room with kitchen and WCs to the rear.  The front elevation is given a degree of architectural gravitas by a raised parapet with reconstituted stone copings, corner piers, and a cross on the gable. In front of this is a projecting vestibule with a flat roof and a canted front.

The interior is finished in painted plaster, with the laminated timber portal frame trusses left exposed, and with fibre board ceiling panels. The original altar appears to survive, brought forward, and retains its suspended timber canopy. A portrait of St John Bosco hangs over the entrance doors. There are no other furnishings of particular note.

Heritage Details

Architect: R. A. Ronchetti

Original Date: 1958

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed