This Church of St. John the Evangelist is the Parish Church of South Bank. We are an urban Parish on the East coast of the United Kingdom. The red brick Victorian building which is now 120 years old was not the first centre of Anglican worship in South Bank.
The town of South Bank grew in importance and size from the 1830's becomming by the 1870's a sizeable town because of the surrounding industries. Eston Parish Church, which had been established by St. Cuthbert's, Ormesby, saw the necessity to provide a place of worship in this rapidly expanding community. Various buildings in South Bank and nearby Grangetown were used at this time.
A site was eagerly being sought for a permanent church and vicarage in Normanby Road, and the Stapylton family donated land to the Church Commisioners for this purpose. A temporary church was built on the sited intended for the vicarage. This building, known affectionately as the "Tin Cathedral" later became the church hall.
In the minutes of the Eston Parish Vestry meeting held on the 11th April 1882 we
read:- "The Vicar (Rev. C. B. Wilcox) stated that an iron church had been commenced at South Bank to hold 500 and to cost £600. £300 had been found and £100 promised by Mr. Harkewirz. We had to excercise faith for the remaing £200."
The Rev. Richard Roberts was placed in charge of the district in 1884 and work for a permanent church began in earnest. One offertory per month was being donated towards the cost of building a church.
An architect by the name of J. N. Bottomley was commisioned to design the church. On 28th November 1893, the foundation stone of the present church was laid by Ward-Jackson.
The church took two years to build. On 28th November 1895, Archbishop MacLagen consecrated the church and it was dedicated to St. John the Evangelist.
On the 14th March 1898, South Bank became a seperate ecclesiastical parish and the Curate-in-charge, the Rev. Richard Roberts became the first vicar.
The church has survived two world wars and many changes to its community; but we continue to witness and serve our town and to spread the good news of the Gospel.
St. John's first Vicar
The Rev, Richard Robers