Our History

Newcastle Holy Cross is located on Whittington Grove in Fenham in Newcastle upon Tyne. It was consecrated on 14th September 1936 by Dr Harold Ernest, Bishop of Newcastle. Those who attended the consecration service recall that, despite wet weather, more than 650 people turned out for this significant event. The land was given by Mr J.R. Blackett-Ord who was the major landowner in the area. The Blackett-Ord family also paid for the construction of the church. The architect was Henry Hicks who was much inspired by the ‘Modern Movement’ in Europe between the wars. The church building, giving an impression of great simplicity, in fact achieves this effect through creative and highly skilled planning of line and form. In the mid-1930s, Fenham was the focus of great building activity with many council and private houses under construction. The Church of the Holy Cross has served the people of Fenham for almost eighty years.

Over the years, there have been a number of additions to the church building. In 1961, Mrs Blackett-Ord died and her husband decided to build a porch on to the west end of the church as a memorial to her. The new St Mary’s Porch was dedicated in December 1965 by Dr Noel Hudson, Bishop of Newcastle. Other additions had been added in 1957. Originally, the interior of the church was all white. But, in that year, L.C. Evetts of the Fine Art Department of Newcastle University designed the present colour scheme, i.e. gold barrel vault roof, red outer walls, and blue behind the altar. Mr Evetts also designed the Processional Cross and the stained-glass window in the Lady Chapel.

In 1976, the Parish Hall was opened. This building stands adjacent to the church on the corner of Whittington Grove and Lanercost Drive. It is an excellent facility used daily by various church and community groups. The Parish Hall replaced the Old Church Hall on Grange Road. This earlier building was the original church in the area; it was consecrated as Christ Church in October 1929.

On 29th March 1981, a new Organ was dedicated by C.P. Unwin, Archdeacon of Northumberland. This instrument was built by Church & Co. of Stamfordham. The elegant case in cedar was planned to match the decor and the architectural features of the church – particularly the circular west window and barrel vault of the roof. The Organ was designed to comply with the church’s principal need – the accompaniment of the liturgy. A balanced principal chorus forms the basis of Manual I and provides a good and firm lead for congregational singing; the matched but quieter flute chorus on Manual II is designed for the accompaniment of the choir.

The present Vicar, Churchwardens and Parochial Church Council are grateful for the careful stewardship of their forbears over the past several decades. We are eager to share our church with you, especially as a sacred place for the worship of God.

Further Reading

Pallister, George A Short History of the Church of the Holy Cross, Fenham to Mark the 40th Anniversary of its Dedication J. Holmes Ltd.: Newcastle upon Tyne, 1976

Anon. The Parish Church of the Holy Cross, Fenham: Golden Jubilee, 1936-1986

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