Cullercoats – St George

I am not a person who does the seaside. It was a gorgeous day (16 July 2015) when I headed to the North Sea coast for a meeting at Cullercoats, and we could have spent the afternoon on the beach. I could have done the Cullercoats Art trail – here – indeed, that would be good for my waistline and my intellect. (You will be glad to know I avoided the burger stall and the candy-floss stall in the car park next door). My friend John Wilson Carmichael was one of the artists here – this is his “Cullercoats looking towards Tynemouth” painting (and my photo).

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St George’s church – with its website at http://www.stgeorgescullercoats.org.uk/ – was built in the 1880s when the sixth Duke of Northumberland planned it in memory of his late father, George, the fifth Duke. The foundation stone was laid in 1882 and the church dedicated two years later. The architect was John Loughborough Pearson. Those who read my blog know we came across his work at Truro Cathedral. He also designed Brisbane Cathedral – northernvicar goes Antipodean? Born on 5 July 1817 he was a native of Durham and, when he died on 11 December 1897, he was buried in Westminster Abbey.

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Lovely doors – in to the church, and into the vestry.

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This church is 98 feet long and 55 feet wife, the height to the underside of the vaulting is 42 feet. It is the sort of building where you look up and go wow – in Truro we saw that Pearson wanted architecture that brought you to your knees.

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The Baptistry windows were designed by Leonard Evetts and depict scenes from the life and legends of St Cuthbert. My photos do not do justice to them. I did not photo the Kempe windows – he visited in 1906 to outline a scheme for the glazing of all the windows.

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The lights are rather lovely. I liked the dragon on the kneeler, and the puffin.

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The organ was built by Thomas Christopher Lewis (1833-1915). It has 26 speaking stops spread over two manuals and pedals, and is the only unaltered Lewis organ remaining in the Diocese of Newcastle. You can buy a CD of Daniel Cook playing it from Priory Records – it is regularly played by visiting recitalists.

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There is a War Memorial outside the church, and another inside – the one inside hardly does justice to them all.

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St George’s is rather higher up the candle than most of our Diocesan churches – so here are the tools of their trade. Note the “Smoking” notice.

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