St Luke's New Church Opening 1969

25th February 1969

The decision to build a new church was made in 1963, The architects Burles, Newton & Partners were appointed and drew up a scheme for a church seating 470. Financial restraints delayed the start of building work until 1966. The contractors were William Thorpe and the foundation stone was laid by Bishop Burke in October 1967. The church was opened two years later. Fr Brown wrote in the Parish log

"The ceremony was performed by Bishop Holland, assisted by Canon McLannon and Canon O'Donnell (who had previously been Parish Priest of St Luke's in the 1930's), Monsignor C.L. Egan VG, many priests and other invited guests were present (Alderman Leslie Lever M.P. architects and representatives of the builders etc. Miss O'Shauhnessy and many others numbering 100)

The church was full and the choir, under the able direction of Mrs Evans, sang beautifully. The new Jardine pipe organ, specially designed for the church, gave us a grandeur of sound never before heard at St Luke's. 


This new church has been praised by all, and the people are immensely proud of it. A new spirit has emerged, a feeling of being a community and a willingness to help to keep it beautiful"

St Luke's is an example from the first generation of churches built to accommodate the liturgical recommendations of the Second Vatican Council. The wide interior gives full views of the altar.

All orientations given are liturgical. The church is a steel-framed structure with loadbearing gable walls built on a series of rafts to guard against mining subsidence. It was designed to ensure that the congregation would have unimpeded views of the sanctuary, and the architects described the layout as ‘in conformity with the Spirit of the new Constitution’ (Catholic Building Review, Northern Edition, 1964 p. 96). The plan is near rectangular, angled at the east end, with a striking roof swooping up at the east end and trios of sharply pointed gables on each side.