The New Cathedral

The Foundation stone for the new St Mary's Cathedral, Coulby Newham, was laid on Sunday 3rd November 1985 by Bishop Augustine Harris. She opened her doors for the first time in 1986. The original architect was Frank B Swainston who was assisted by Peter A Fenton. Sadly, Frank died in 1982 just after the design had been agreed but Fenton was determined to complete a project to which Swainston would be proud of.

Construction throughout is in brick over a structural steel frame with a slate roof of an unusual and interesting configuration. Brazillian mahogony 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 the handicapped, 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, elevated from and projecting into the seating area, are provided. These may be used either liturgically, during the Easter Vigil and at Christmas for example, or functionally, such as to provide a place with good visibility for the handicapped.

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.