Before 1882 Roman Catholics in Dunston had to travel to St. Joseph’s in Gateshead to hear mass, a distance of two miles or more. The Priest at St Joseph’s, Father Matthews, tried to hold services nearer to Dunston by hiring first a room in Tynedale Terrace and then a hay loft in Bolam Street which served the dual purpose of school and church.
In 1882 plans were drawn up for a School which would open the same year. Lack of funds meant that the planned presbytery could not be built, and the Priest continued to live in Tyndale Terrace until a house was taken in Brompton Place in 1884. In 1884 the present Presbytery was built for £764.00 making a total debt of £2410.00 for School and Presbytery, which was a very large sum for a relatively small congregation. Owing to the siting of St Philip Neri many locals fail to notice the Presbytery, which is a spacious house with a pleasant ‘hidden’ garden between itself and the church.
The dual-purpose building served until 1905 when the temporary Church was built. This was followed in 1909 by an extension to the school building and the opening of the infant school as a separate department. In 1934 after nearly thirty years, the present St Philip Neri replaced the ‘Temporary’ church building.
During the past six years, St Philip Neri School has responded to the changing demography of Dunston and the high demand for school places by undergoing huge expansion work.
The work has included:
Phase 1 – Two new classrooms, corridor, presbytery refurbishment to house staff room, new entrance, PPA room, offices and intervention room
Phase 2 – Three new classrooms & relocation on Pre-School
Phase 3 – New windows & Peace Garden
Phase 4 – New roof
Phase 5 – New boiler
The school is now a one form entry school as opposed to the previous half form entry.
We are proud to continue remembering our past whilst moving into the future.