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Leam Lane, Colegate, RC Church of St. Augustine

Leam Lane


Religious Ritual and Funerary


Roman Catholic Church



Extant Building

1962 by David Brown. Portal frames diagonally placed {2}. DESCRIPTION / STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE This lofty church in a modern style with very simple, sparse detailing, was designed as one of 3 churches planned for the Leam Lane Estate when it was conceived in the 1950s. It enjoys perhaps the best situation of the 3 now, due to the way the site has developed. Built in good quality handmade rich orange-red brick with core dressings and a shallow-pitched copper roof, it has a monumental presence on the estate, enhanced by the predominantly low surrounding development. It was opened on March 9th 1962, about a year before the nearby swimming baths (also Locally Listed); the scale being similar but the radically different styles forming an interesting contrast. The fenestration is, as ever, crucial to the character of the building, with the predominant motif of triplicate tall lancets (with shallow pointed heads echoing the roof pitch) creating a rhythm to the east and west elevations, and a compact wheel window with unusually broad surround featuring to the entrance (south) elevation. The latter is balanced in this elevation by a shallow gabled surround housing double timber doors, with a stepped effect notable on the elevation beginning to the east with a tall square bell tower, lowering to the nave, and then descending to a small porch at the west. Internally, the architect also designed the high altar, with its Italian marble top and Irish green marble front (enhanced by a canopy of wood inlaid with gold above), as well as an elaborate font created from 8 pieces of Italian marble bonded with resin. There are many references to traditional church architecture, therefore, but they are successfully re-interpreted in a modern style, creating a light, bright spacious building which makes a significant contribution to the architecture of the area. MATERIALS Red brick, core, copper ARCHITECT David Brown DATES 1962 (built) ADDITIONAL INFORMATION When it was opened, the building was blessed by the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, James Cunningham, Father John Daly dressed the high altar, and Father Lawrence Murray of Easington Colliery preached. A crucifix of black steel was installed, with a gold and white tabernacle, silver candelabra and flower sconces. The church cost £40,000, and wasn’t consecrated until it had been paid for in full. The stained glass wheel window was designed by Cate Watkinson of Watkinson Glass Associates, Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Rd. Cate has designed glass pieces for many high profile locations, including St Mary’s R C Cathedral, Newcastle, and Newcastle International Airport. LOCAL LIST




Gateshead Council Local List Fact Sheet X20/LL/049; N. Pevsner, 1992, The Buildings of England - County Durham, page 271; [accessed 7th March 2016]

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