Building » Yeadon – St Peter and St Paul

Yeadon – St Peter and St Paul

New Road, Yeadon, West Yorkshire

A light, bright Moderne design of 1956, with Art Deco touches, by the busiest post-war practice in the diocese.

Until 1909, the Guiseley, Rawdon and Cragwood areas were served either by Our Lady and All Saints Church in Otley or in a room above a shop on the street known as the ‘The Steep’ in Yeadon. The driving force for a new church was Mr John Warrington, owner of St John’s Colliery at Normington. He lived in Cragwood and at first Mass was said in the upper rooms of his house. The records show baptisms recorded there from 1876, the priests travelling from Bradford or Leeds.  In 1907 the foundation stone was laid for a chapel in the grounds of Warrington’s house, and the church of Our Lady of Good Counsel and St Joseph opened in 1909.  It was designed to seat 120 and was built by Mr Ned Barrett of Rawdon in Bradford Delf stone finished internally with red bricks from Italy. A large presbytery was built next door with Canon Francis Wood being the first priest.  Warrington died before the church was completed and left his house to the Sisters of Notre Dame, Leeds. Following the building of the church of St Peter and St Paul, this building became a chapel of ease until it was finally closed in 1989 and converted into flats.

During the Second World War there was a large growth in the population, with an influx of workers for the underground AVRO works on Harrogate Road, where the Lancaster Bomber was made and assembled. A Mass centre was created in Otley Road, Guiseley which over subsequent years was located in different buildings, including Guiseley Town Hall. By 1953, more people were attending Mass at the Town Hall than at the Cragwood church and it was decided to build a new church in Yeadon. A plot next to the A65 was found, then being used for allotments. The church was designed by the Langtry-Langton Practice of Bradford and built by Harrisons, builders of Leeds at a cost of £48,000. The foundation stone was laid on the 13 June 1955  by  Bishop  Heenan  and  the  church  was  opened  the  following  year.  It  was consecrated by Bishop Dwyer on 20 October 1959.

In 1996 work began on extending the basement of the church to provide addition facilities. The basement kitchen and storage areas were enlarged and altered and in February 1997 the parish rooms were opened.

The church is an interesting, eclectic mix of modernist and Art Deco classical details. Built in pink brick with a tiled roof, the building projects forward from the adjoining presbytery. The irregular, flat-roofed entrance porch, extended in 1972, has double wooden doors with a decorative surround. There is a large window in the west gable end of paraboloid form with tracery of an Art Deco character, the roof ending in deep, overhanging white-painted eaves. The southern flank elevation follows the sloping site and reveals to the east a brick bell tower, containing a single bell.  The 4-bay nave contains large square-shaped windows, the glazing having tripartite sections with margins. Square brick pilasters rise up to overhanging eaves in each bay.

The internal character is strongly marked by the reinforced concrete frame structure, its arch-bracing painted white, which combines with the high level of natural light to produce a bright and uplifting interior. The nave has a central alley with flanking rows of plain pews, pews made in 1959 using parish labour. An organ was originally sited at the west end in a wall recess but later alterations have created two small side chapels, one dedicated St Martin de Porres.  The north wall contains a small chapel containing a statue of St Joseph and 2 narrow windows, with stained glass by Clokey of Belfast depicting St Peter and St Paul.   The west window has a centrally placed Paschal candle and the symbols of Saints Peter and Paul, and is probably also by Clokey.

The sanctuary is reached up 4 steps, and is marked by some of the original metal altar rails which have been altered and adapted. The forward altar was added in 1972. The main feature of the sanctuary is the striking reredos, given to the church in 1959 by Mr and Mrs Brennan.  This fills most of the east wall and is composed of grey marble tiles, mounted with brass strips and decorative bosses; edged with decorative plaster strips containing wheat and grapes. In the centre is a large white Crucifix with Our Lady and St John on either side of Christ. The reredos is surmounted by an original canopy.   The sanctuary lamp was brought from St Joseph’s, Cragwood and restored and donated to the parish by their former priest Fr O’Hara.

Heritage Details

Architect: J. H. Langtry-Langton

Original Date: 1955

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed