The New Cathedral 

Bishop Augustine Harris laid the Foundation stone for the new St Mary's Cathedral, Coulby Newham, on Sunday 3rd November 1985. She opened her doors for the first time in 1986.

The original architect was Frank B Swainston, whom Peter A Fenton assisted. Sadly, Frank died in 1982, just after the design had been agreed, but Fenton was determined to complete a project of which Swainston would be proud.

Construction is in brick over a structural steel frame with a slate roof of an unusual and interesting configuration, mimmicing the contours of local landmark, Roseberry Topping.

Brazillian mahogany is used for all the doors, and ash is used for the architect-designed pews, which seat 700 people. Facing brick is used in the public areas throughout. The natural materials of brick and wood contribute much to the functionality of the Cathedral, adding warmth, light and dignity to this unmistakable religious space.

The layout of the nave provides generous circulation space behind and around the fixed seating. Apart from facilitating processions and giving easy access and freedom of movement, especially for those with additional needs, this allows for a good deal of adaptability and flexibility in the internal arrangement of the church, such as the provision of extra seating.

In addition, two special V-shaped multi-purpose open spaces are also provided, which are elevated from and projected into the seating area. These may be used either liturgically, during the Easter Vigil and at Christmas, or functionally to provide a place with good visibility for those with additional needs.

These areas are surrounded by rails incorporating ecclesiastical and civic coats of arms incised in glass panels. The ecclesiastical coat of arms include those of Bishop Lacy, Bishop Shine, Bishop Brunner, Bishop Harris, Bishop Wheeler, Bishop O’Brien, Bishop Crowley, and the present Bishop of Middlesbrough, Terence Patrick Drainey.

The civic areas represented, in addition to Middlesbrough, are the City of Kingston-upon-Hull, the City of York, the Town of Scarborough and the former Counties of Cleveland, North Yorkshire and North Humberside, all of which are served by the diocese.