Updated on 20th Aug 2023 - please see below
A brief history of St Timothy's Church, Hemlington.
Hemlington is mentioned in Domesday Book as "Himeligetun", but was never more than a rural settlement with farms within the parish of nearby Stainton. Otherwise Hemlington is a southern extension of Middlesbrough, developed from the 1960s to provide housing. The first estate to be built in the late 60’s was the Southdean Drive estate . Eventually, during the 1970’s, more estates were built (some council/housing association dwellings, some private homes). The estates are built around a man-made lake and park. Hemlington Hall Farm survived on the other side of the lake from St Timothy's before being developed into a private housing estate; the 19th century farm buildings are used for community purposes.
St Timothy's has its origins in the early 1970s when the Revd Terence Grigg (Vicar of Stainton: 1970-1984) ) had the vision to start a church community in the "new town" of Hemlington. A gift of £66 was provided as a deposit for the purchase of a house on the Southdean estate. The house at 1 Southdean Drive was bought and fitted to be a "house church" for the "new town", £5000 being found by the Rt Revd Donald Coggan (the then Archbishop of York (1961-1974), and later Archbishop of Canterbury, 1974-1980)), to buy the house outright. "Church House" was dedicated on Ascension Day, 20th May 1971. In the early days, "Church House" was used by several denominations (Anglican, Methodist and Roman Catholic amongst them). As the Anglican congregation grew Sunday services moved to Viewley Hill School until money was raised to build the new Church of St Timothy in the Viewley Centre. St Timothy's Church was begun in 1979 and completed in 1980; the architects were Dennis Lister Associates of Middlesbrough. It was opened and dedicated on Sunday 2nd November 1980 by the Rt Revd Clifford Barker (Bishop of Whitby: 1976-1983). St Timothy’s remained a part of Stainton Parish until the 1990’s. The new Parish of Hemlington was formed and the Church consecrated on 1st June 1993.
The church building, and the hall to which it is attached, are suffering from severe structural problems which were inherent in the original design. The last service of public worship was on Sunday 17th March 2019. An inspection visit was made by the Church Architect the following day and the Church building and hall declared unsafe and closed on 18th March 2019. Investigations have demonstrated that the structural problems are such that that it is not viable for the building to be repaired due to the substantial financial cost involved. The St Timothy’s Church Family continued to meet in various community buildings until the departure of the then Vicar Revd Rob Desics on 22nd March 2020 when he became Vicar of the Parish of St Mark the Evangelist and St Peter ad Vincula, South Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees .
Vicars of St Timothy's, Hemlington:
Revd Ian Graham 1993 to 2001
Revd Andrew Howard 2001 to 2005
Revd Rob Desics 20/10/2005 to 22/3/2020
In 2020 the Diocese of York and the Church Commissioners published Pastoral Schemes to: re-unite the Parish of Hemlington with its Mother Parish of Stainton - 15022021 - (details here); and to close and demolish St Timothy's Church - 16112020.
The re-unification of Hemlington and Stainton took place on Monday 1st March 2021 (see below).
St Timothy's Church, Hemlington was formally closed for public worship on 26th January 2021. The date for the demolition of St Timothy's Church is still to be confirmed (please see 5th May 2023 update below).
The Pastoral Scheme to re-unite Hemlington with Stainton to create, inter alia, "the Parish of Stainton with Hemlington" was "made" by the Church Commissioners on 25th February 2021 and comes into effect on Monday 1st March 2021, and on the same day our Priest-in-Charge Revd Claire Todd becomes Vicar (Incumbent) of the Benefice of Stainton with Hemlington and Hilton, held in Plurality with the Benefice of Brookfield.
Updated on 4th April 2023
The Diocese made an application to the Local Authority (Middlesbrough Council) Planning Authority on 8th July 2021 with a "notification of demolition of St Timothy's Church Hall (and Church)". The Planning Ref is: 21/0517/DEM. Full details are available using the link at the top of the "sources" list below.
The Planning Authority gave its approval to the proposed demolition project on 13th March 2023.
The demolition contractor (MGL Group) had issued an outline programme (timetable) for the project which proposed that the work would take place during the period 20th March 2023 and 17 April 2023 with the demolition work expected to start on-site on 3rd April 2023.
Updated on 5th May 2023
The Diocese has placed the Contract for the demolition of St Timothy's with MGL Group which will commence the work on-site on Tuesday 9th May 2023. It is expected that the work will be completed by Sunday 18th June 2023.
Updated on 28th June 2023
The demolition work has almost been completed. The site has been levelled and covered with top-soil and grass seed will be sown shortly.
Updated on 20th August 2023
On Sunday 20th August 2023 at 3.00pm on the site of St Timothy’s Church our Vicar, Revd Laura Wild, hosted a Service of Reflection and Thanksgiving for the service that St Timothy’s provided to the local population; Revd Laura was assisted by the Venerable Dr Amanda Bloor, Archdeacon of Cleveland.
The weather was kind to us; it was sunny, warm and dry. 26 people (including the Vicar and Archdeacon) gathered in a circle just outside the demolition contractor's fencing for a short service of hymns and prayers - you can download a copy of the service sheet from this link. We were so pleased to welcome some former members of St Timothy’s Congregation, along with members of Stainton Church and Brookfield Church and a few other guests. Here are some photos of the happy gathering.
https://planning.agileapplications.co.uk/middlesbrough/application-details/34260 (accessed 4th April 2023)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Coggan (accessed 31st Jan 2021)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bishop_of_Whitby (accessed 31st Jan 2021)
Revd Rob Desics (Personal Communication, 31st Jan 2021)
Photos: Joseph Elders, October 2009 (c) Archbishops' Council; also Bob Ardley, May-August 2023 (c) Bob Ardley