St. Peter’s Church, or more officially known as Our Lady and St. Peter, was formed out of St. Mary’s Church, East Parade when a school chapel was opened by Canon MOTLER of St Mary’s on land adjoining the Leeds Road cemetery, in 1871, to serve the Laisterdyke area. The senior classroom on the upper floor of the school was used as a chapel. It was altered and enlarged in 1878 and became Voluntary Aided 20 years later.
The population grew and in 1905 road widening was needed. This took some of the land used by the school. A new school was built (1906) and the chapel transferred to the basement of the new school building. It continued to be served from St Mary’s. In 1921 land further up Leeds Road was bought for the Presbytery with the intention of building a Church beside it. This is now Grade 2 Listed, as is the church, which was opened in 1933.
It had soon become apparent that a new church would not adequately serve all the proposed area. It was a long and difficult walk up the hill and the Priest of St Peter’s saw the need for a Chapel of Ease lower down Leeds Road. In 1921 St Teresa’s was established in Birksland Street. It continued until the 1960’s when demolition of the area caused its closure.
St. Peter’s was opened in 1933 by JOSEPH ROBERT COWGILL, Bishop of Leeds, and an early description describes the new church...
‘It is in the Romanesque style at a cost of £15,000. It will accommodate 700 people. It has a commanding position with a tall campanile, graceful lines. The High Altar is set in a circular apse and is in conformity with Romanesque architecture. The reredos is in veneered walnut surrounded with an enriched arcade and the altar is in onyx marble and Hopton wood. There are two other altars, two side chapels and a baptistery and above the Narthex is a choir gallery and organ. The pillars of the have symbolic capitals and the leaded-light windows are set in green terra cotta. The benches are of plain serviceable design and are solid oak.’
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