The New Church
The foundation stone of the new church was laid by Dr
Thomas Shine, Bishop of Middlesborough, on 15 October 1935, assisted
by Rev. P. Leonard, parish priest, Rev. B. Scannell, Rev. F Moverley,
Canon E.E. Levick (Ripon), Canon E. Wilson(Boston Spa) and the Rev.
J. V Clenaghan. The church was to be built in modern brick with reinforced
concrete pillars and with an elevated sanctuary. Bishop Shine said in
His address: Here Jesus Christ will be the centre of your efforts
and the object of your worship, and that Divine Being whom you worship
will show you the true relationship between the temporal and the eternal.
We who are the heirs of the faith which St Augustine preached, are continuing
his work with the same feeling of responsibility. The ceremony
was preceded by a luncheon at Harehills Palais de Danse, at which many
parishioners and clergy of the diocese were present. Fr. Leonard presided.
Dr. Shine, Bishop of Middlesborough lays the foundation stone
on 15th October 1935
The new church under construction 4 May 1936
The New Church is Complete
The new Church was finally completed in 1936. Modern in conception,
the building struck a new note in church architecture in the city. The
brick exterior did not follow any traditional style of architecture;
the almost complete lack of ornamentation inside gave a striking but
dignified effect. The new church was considered one of the most beautiful
churches not only in the Diocese but in the whole country so much so
that it was awarded a Bronze Medal by the Architects Institute
in 1936. The Architects were Messrs. Chorley, Gribbon and Foggitt of
Leeds and the chief Contractors Messrs. J. T. Wright and Sons, Ltd.,
also of Leeds.The new Church with Lady Chapel, two small side Chapels,
(one dedicated to Our Lady the other to the Sacred Heart), Baptistry,
Clergy and Choir Sacristies and a west gallery was built to seat 800
in the nave and a further 200 in the gallery at a cost of £21,000.The
organ, a 3-manual made by the famous Woods Wordsworth firm of organ
makers came from a redundant church in Leeds. Extras for the new church
were a Tabernacle (£40), Stations of the Cross (£70) and
Bell (£80). Seating and railings were to be considered later.
The statue of The Sacred Heart which stood in the front entrance porch
was taken from the old church. It is now in St Augustines school.The
first Mass was held at 7am on Monday 29 September 1936.
Extract from the Architect.
& Building News 18th June, 1937
The Church has been designed so
that all worshippers may have a clear and unobstructed view
of the High Altar which is raised well above the level of the
nave floor. A central aisle and two side aisles give ample access
and afford adequate processional ways. A stepped gallery is
provided at the West end of the nave, reached by a staircase
adjoining the main entrance in Harehills Road.
The interior gives an impression of space and
height and has good natural lighting from tall narrow square-hedged
windows. Ornament and colour are sparingly used. The walls are
left the natural colour of the laster and are divided up by
the grey piers, beams and roof principals of reinforced concrete.
Flooring in green and black has been laid in the
nave and aisles; the Sanctuary and Chapels being paved with
stone. The Altar furnishings, the green and gold carpet of the
Altar steps, and the Stations of the Cross provide the main
notes of colour in a simple impressive and dignified interior.
Externally, the building, without following traditional
lines, expresses its purpose successfully. Brick has been used
throughout as a facing, the plain walls being relieved only
by the long narrow windows and V-shaped buttresses between them.
The roof is covered with Roman tiles of bold and distinctive
character. The recessed main entrance from Harehills Road is
approached by a wide flight of steps and on a corbel immediately
over the main entrance is a stone figure of St Augustine, his
hand raised in Benediction. (This was sculpted by George
W Milburn & Son-and is in memory of Mgr. Collingwood and
The Opening of the New Church.
The new church was solemnly opened by the bishop Dr Henry
Poskitt on 15 December 1936 in the presence of Rev. Dr Downey, Archbishop
of Liverpool In his sermon, Dr Downey described the church as an abiding
witness in stone to the faith of Catholics of the district and the outward
symbol of their own living witness. The bishop was assisted by Canon
W. C. Hudson (Barnsley) as assistant priest and by Rev. Barry Scannell
(Birstall) and Rev. F. Moverley (St Augustines) as deacon and
sub-deacon respectively. The choir sang a plain chant accompaniment.
Tickets for the ceremony could be obtained at the presbytery after Mass
Following the opening service, a luncheon was held at
the Hotel Metropole at which Fr. Leonard paid tribute to the loyal support
he had received from his parishioners during his seven years in the
When the new church opened, Mass attendance rose from
a figure of 1478 in April 1936 (Clayton Hall) to a figure of 1931 in
the September of the same year. The average weekly collection for that
year was £41. The attendance continued to rise over the next two
years to 2,199 in April 1938. Other statistics for that year were as
Baptisms 101 Confessions (males) 598
Converts 20 Confessions (females) 644
Marriages 42 Confessions (total) 1,242
New Parish Boundaries
In 1939, three years after the church was built, and because of the
great housing developments and the spread of the Catholic population
outward, the Parish boundary was redrawn and parts were incorporated
into the new parishes of St Nicholas to the east and The Immaculate
Heart of Mary to the north.