Anglican Church. 1957-58 by Francis Johnson. Neo-Georgian and Scandinavian style.
Reasons for Designation
The Church of St Michael and All Angels of 1957-58 by Francis Johnson is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic Interest: the church was built using part of the compensation paid by the War Damage Commission for the city-centre St Stephen’s Church lost to enemy bombing during the Second World War, the latter poignantly remembered in a Leonard Evetts window depicting St Stephen with an image of the intact church above;
* Stylistic Interest: as a well-designed and distinctive post-war church successfully combining the classical traditions of neo-Georgian architecture with elements of early-C20 Scandinavian architecture, to produce a harmonious whole;
* Architect: Francis Johnson is a well-regarded architect who designed a number of churches during his time as principal architect for the Diocese of York, a position he shared with George Pace, before gaining wider prominence later in his career for his classical country house designs;
* Materials: Johnson’s use of a warm palette of orange brick and roof tiles is apposite for a church built in a city with a long history of brick buildings stretching back to medieval times, referencing both this and the modern brick architecture of the neighbouring continental countries of Holland and Denmark;
* Interior: the simple, white-plastered interior of the church is enriched by high quality fixtures, fittings, and artistic elements by notable artists and craftsmen in addition to the fine Norman stone font from the deserted East Riding village of Wharram Percy.
The first St Michael’s Church was a mission chapel built in 1933-34 by Allderidge & Clark to serve a new, inter-war council housing estate on the N side of the city centre. During the Second World War St Stephen’s Church in the centre of Hull had been badly bomb damaged, resulting in its subsequent demolition. Part of the compensation paid by the War Damage Commission was awarded to St Michael’s to enable a new, bigger church to be built. The original designs for the new church were drawn up in 1951 by the architect Francis Johnson for the Revd Alun Morris. That design was for a church with aisles and a continuous clerestory of clear-glazed rectangular windows, slim cylindrical concrete columns and a semi-circular, top-lit apse. By the time the church was constructed in 1957-58 for the Revd Ronald Treasure the design had been considerably modified with the columns and aisles omitted on grounds of cost. The Scandinavian influenced tower was taller than first proposed though, crowned by an octagonal brick cupola. The brick church was built on piled concrete foundations which go down 30ft (9.1m) as the substrata is affected by the estuary tides. The former mission church was retained as the church hall and linked to the new church by a two-storey wing containing the vestry, office and first-floor chapel. It is not included in the listing.
The spacious interior of the new church has a wide, segmental arched plaster ceiling to the nave and a bowed communion rail to the chancel. Both are features often used in Johnson’s churches and found in the churches of the Danish architect, Carl Brummer, such as Gurre Church (1925), which Johnson knew. It contains some excellent fittings, which includes a Norman stone font from the deserted medieval East Riding village of Wharram Percy. Leonard Evetts, the Master of Art at King’s College, Newcastle (now Newcastle University) and highly regarded C20 stained glass artist designed three stained glass windows for the church. In the chancel the N stained glass window is signed and dated 1959 and the S stained glass is signed and dated 1960. The curved, wrought-iron communion rails were by the blacksmith, Wilfrid Dowson of Kirk Forge, Kirbymoorside. Johnson used the work of both craftsmen in all his new churches. Behind the altar there was originally a large mural in a recessed niche by Denis Booth (now removed). The organ came from the Promenade Chapel in Bridlington.
The opening of St Michael and All Angels in August 1958 was covered in the ‘Illustrated London News’, the only one of Johnson’s churches to receive national press coverage. It was described as ‘altogether a remarkable achievement’, praising the way in which ‘this church combines colour, light and spaciousness with peacefulness and harmony’.
Francis Johnson (1911-1995) was a prominent local architect who became a leading figure in the classical revival of the late 1980s and is best known for his classical designs for country houses, especially in Yorkshire. In his earlier career, however, and particularly in the 1950s, he was one of the leading church architects in Yorkshire, designing ten completely new churches, extending and altering others, and working as one of the two principal consultant architects for the York Diocese, with George Pace. His new designs combined the classical tradition with elements of early-C20 Scandinavian architecture. His Roman Catholic Church of St Joseph in Scarborough, built in 1958-60 is listed Grade II.
Anglican Church. 1957-58 by Francis Johnson. Neo-Georgian and Scandinavian style.
Hall attached to S side of former church of 1933-34, which is not included in the listing.
MATERIALS: brick in Flemish bond with tiled roof.
PLAN: built on an E-W alignment with a wide, seven-bay nave with a W gallery and narthex, a shallow S transept and a SW porch, a narrower, 2-bay chancel, a W tower, and a two-storey N wing containing a vestry, office and first-floor chapel.
EXTERIOR: the church is built of brick with a brick plinth, brick band beneath the nave and chancel windows and a dentil eaves band. The nave and chancel share a continuous roof, though the chancel is narrower, with a tall W-end tower. The nave has tall, segmental-arched windows with circular windows over. The windows have patterned leading using small panes of plain glass. The chancel has two tall, segmental-arched windows in the S elevation: the inner window has patterned leading using plain glass and the outer window has stained glass. The N elevation of the chancel has a single, tall, segmental window with stained glass. The E elevation of the chancel has a circular window in the gable apex flanked by air vents. The S elevation of the nave has a shallow, projecting porch in the first bay and a similar, shallow, projecting transept in the seventh bay. Both have curved front elevations and flat roofs with dentil eaves cornices. The porch has a projecting, curved concrete canopy over a wide segmental-arched doorway. The door has double doors of zig-zag, diagonal boarding. Above the doorway is a metal Latin cross standing on a brick corbel. Both side elevations have segmental-arched windows with single-pane glazing. The south transept has a tall, segmental-arched window in the front elevation with patterned leading to the small panes of plain glass. Beneath the window is a foundation stone inscribed with a Latin cross and the date 1957. The left-hand side elevation has a segmental-arched doorway. The right-hand side elevation is blind, with a narrow, round-headed window with stained glass in the return elevation of the wider nave. The square, W tower has a brick plinth and high, paired, round-headed windows to each side; the three outer sides each also have a lower circular window. The flat roof of the tower has a concrete cornice with small, concrete, corner obelisks and an octagonal brick cupola. The cupola has round-headed, louvred, openings to each face and an octagonal copper roof with central finial surmounted by a Latin cross.
The N elevation of the church has a small stair outshot at its right-hand end with a flat roof and a central, vertical rectangular window in the outer elevation. The window has a metal mullion and transom frame. At the left-hand end of the nave there is a two-storey wing with dentil eaves band which projects four bays and abuts the S transept of the former church. On the E side the second bay of the chancel has a projecting stair bay which abuts the first bay of the E elevation of the wing. It has a narrow, round-headed window in the centre of the E elevation and a flat roof with a bellcote containing a sanctus bell. The remaining three bays all have vertical rectangular windows on both ground and first floors with two-light, timber casements. The fourth bay of the W elevation of the wing projects slightly, with a slightly lower eaves band. It has similar two-light timber casements to each first-floor bay and the first and third bays of the ground floor. The second bay of the ground floor has a narrower window with a timber casement with a top-opening light.
INTERIOR: the spacious interior is plastered with arcaded walls and segmental-arched ceilings to the nave and chancel. The nave has herringbone parquet flooring with black and white diamond tiling to the chancel. At the W end of the nave is a narthex with a gallery over. The narthex has a tiled floor with double doors from the S porch, central double doors and outer single doors all opening into the nave. The doors are timber with a lower panel and a larger upper light with slender, diamond glazing bars. A small room opens off the W side and at the N end is an arcade containing a flight of steps up to the gallery. The gallery has a central pipe organ set into a three-centred arch. The two right-hand bays of the N wall contain first-floor balconies to the corridor accessing the first-floor chapel, reached by a curved staircase in the adjoining return wall of the nave. The E return walls of the nave have a first-floor round-headed archway on the N side balanced by a round-headed, stained-glass window on the S side. The archway contains a Madonna and Child statue by Norman Cawthra. The window depicting the Lamb of God is by Leonard Evetts. The shallow, S transept has a small E wall altar. Standing adjacent is a mahogany pulpit designed by Johnson in a Georgian manner with a flight of steps and a sounding board. In front of the pulpit is a Norman, drum-shaped stone font with arches of nailhead decoration from Wharram Percy. The chancel has curved, iron communion rails with a pattern of angels’ wings by Wilfrid Dowson. Over the altar is a baldachino with a fabric canopy with a large, shallow niche behind (originally containing a mural). The S stained glass window flanking the altar depicts St Michael with a sword and is signed ‘L.C.EVETTS.fecit 1960’. The N stained glass window flanking the altar depicts St Stephen holding a stone with an image of the destroyed St Stephen’s Church above and is signed ‘L.C.EVETTS. fecit 1959 SB’.
SUBSIDIARY ITEMS: fronting Orchard Park Road is a boundary wall and gateways which returns on the left-hand side to the corner of the adjoining building and stops at the boundary with the vicarage garden on the right-hand side. A low, brick wall with concrete coping has iron railings set between tall, square, brick piers topped by concrete obelisks. The wall forms a large, concave, semi-circle with a wide gateway in line with the S porch of the church. The gateway has decorative iron, double gates. To the right, within the semi-circle, a second, wide gateway has been inserted with plain, iron, double gates.