Building » York (Tang Hall) – St Aelred

York (Tang Hall) – St Aelred

Fifth Avenue, Tang Hall, York, North Yorkshire

A post-war church of portal frame construction, serving an interwar housing  estate. The  glazing and reredos are distinctive, serving to unify the design, and the statuary is of some interest.

Part of the parish of St George’s, the Tang Hall estate was built after the First World War on land outside the city walls between Hull Road and Heworth village. Mass was said on the estate from 1928 in a building known as the ‘Flaxman Hut’. A school and presbytery were built in Fifth Avenue in 1931 and a church in 1932, occupying a hall adjoining the school in Fifth Avenue, and accommodating 270 people. Fr Patrick McAniff arrived in 1938 and was to stay for 33 years. He oversaw the building of the present church, built from designs by Stephen Simpson of Leeds, costing £25,000 and seating 400. It was consecrated by Bishop George Brunner on 12 March 1956.


A functional design with cantilevered west front and recessed entrance carried on columns. Linked gabled tower with crucifix on gable. West front faced in glass panels, with attached statue of St Aelred. Otherwise the construction is of brick laid in stretcher bond. Nave, aisles, short square chancel, transepts. The nave is of four bays and has paired square openings to the aisles with metal windows and tall paired openings to the clerestory with concrete tracery pattern of elongated hexagons. Shallow copper roof to the nave; flat aisle roofs hidden behind parapet. Projecting transepts with large inset cross to end walls, with clear glazing.

The interior is essentially one space, the aisles being narrow and for circulation. It is faced in bare brick, laid in stretcher bond. There is a large western gallery with a patterned brick front over the narthex and former baptistery (now a shop, but the original gates survive, altered). The structure is a portal frame, the concrete ribs marking out each bay and continuing down as tapering piers between the nave and aisles. Rectangular ceiling panels to the shallow pitched roof. Two banks of oak pews in the nave; shrines in the transepts. The sanctuary is dominated by a high reredos with a hexagonal pattern echoing that of the fenestration and with a large and fine Romanesque-style sculpture of the Crucified Christ, of uncertain provenance. The altar incorporates elements of the original Swedish marble altar, with white and orange mottled panels. This and the marble steps to the sanctuary were by Joseph Rotherham, stonemason of Market Weighton.

Heritage Details

Architect: Stephen Simpson

Original Date: 1956

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed