Building » Tang Hall – St Aelred

Tang Hall – St Aelred

Fifth Avenue, Tang Hall, York, North Yorkshire

Post-war church of portal frame construction, serving an interwar housing  estate.  The  glazing  and  reredos  are  distinctive  and  serve  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. Catholic 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.  Father  Patrick  McAniff  arrived  in  March  1938  and  was  to  stay  for  33 years. During  his  tenure  he  oversaw  the  building  of  the  present  church,  from designs by Stephen Simpson of Leeds, at a cost of £25,000 and seating 400. It was consecrated by Bishop George Brunner on March 12 1956.

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 baptistry (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 undetermined 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, of Leeds

Original Date: 1956

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed