A History of the Parish Church of St Matthew,
Kingston upon Hull, North Humberside, England:

The Church was built in 1870, in response to the rapid expansion of the township, now City of Kingston upon Hull. Previously the people of Hull had lived in a tight community around its two medieval churches of Holy Trinity and St Mary's, Lowgate. During the population explosion of the mid-Victorian period it was necessary to build on the surrounding farm lands. St Matthew's was built on such a site, approximately 2 miles from the town centre on the road to Anlaby and beyond. The Rev'd George Robinson, Curate of Holy Trinity, was charged with the task of creating the new parish in 1867.

A temporary church dedicated to St Michael & All Angel's was built in Coltman Street whilst plans were made for the building of a grand Parish Church. Messrs Adams & Kelly,
Architects of Leeds, were appointed for the project whilst fund raising quickly set about reaching the then princely sum of £8,500. This was always to be a grand building that would enhance the new residential communities which were largely being occupied by the successful middle -class of Hull.

The original pulpit at St.Matthew's with statue of our Patron Saint.
This was removed in 1970 and replaced with the wooden pulpit from the former church of St.Barnabas

A most gracious spire was to adorn the north-eastern corner of the church, offering a new landmark to people of Hull. Today, this spire remains such a signal feature, the tallest spire in the city and visible from far and wide.

The church was consecrated by Archbishop Thompson of York on St Luke's Day, 18th October, 1870. For some unknown reason it was dedicated to neither St Luke or St Michael, taking the name of St Matthew.

The Rev'd George Robinson remained with the new Parish as its first Incumbent until 1907, an extremely long and faithful ministry. During that time the Parish was established as probably the premier residential community of Hull. To the Church were quickly added the very best of fixtures and refinements. An organ was installed in 1877, built by the well known firm of Foster & Andrews.

This is still in full use today as a fine example of their work. Stone carvings were added to the pillars,corbels and font in 1896 and in the same year a fine brass lectern was gifted to the Church. Many of the original leaded-light windows were changed to stained glass panels.
The three panels of the eastern apse date from 1900, featuring the Crucifixion in the centre panel and with the Wedding of Cana & Jesus teaching the crowds on either side. Following the Great War the West window was dedicated as a War Memorial, it features members of the Services under a roundel of Christ in Glory. A further five windows in the north and south aisles were also to receive stained glass panels.

Detail from window in the Remembrance Chapel

In the year of our Centenary the neighbouring Parish Church of St Barnabas was closed down and amalgamated with St Matthew's. The congregation of St Barnabas joined their new home and brought a number of fittings from their former church. Hence the pulpit and choir stalls in the church today are those coming from St Barnabas, rather than the original but less appreciated ones of St Matthew's.

The Value & Importance of St Matthew's today:

Although the Victorian age saw many Church buildings added to this community, both for the Church of England and the Free Churches, most of these have not stood the test of time. St Matthew's is now one of just three Victorian built Anglican Churches left in the city. The others are those of St John's, Newington and St Giles' Marfleet. Of the three St Matthew's is by far the most important to the surviving architectural heritage. Whilst both St John's and St Giles' are churches hidden away from all but immediate view, St Matthew's, alone is surmounted by a spire and stands alongside one of the major roads into the City and also the mainline raiIway.

It is our conviction that St Matthew's Parish Church represents a most important feature of our Victorian heritage and must be maintained as such for the future. The present building still serves as the Parish Church to a population of approx. 8,000 people. Unfortunately the once grand area it served has declined through the natural western drift. We are now an inner city, urban priority area.

We continue to provide worship for the parish every Sunday Morning, but our congregations are small (approx. 30 adults attend our main Sunday service). The Children are not forgotten as we provide for them their own special groups during our weekly Family Worship service. Another room is available for crèche for those with very young ones.

Each summer a number of our young people attend a Falcon Camp holiday
. There is a continuing ministry to families in the area through the provision of Marriages and Baptisms.

Crucifixion panel from the East window

We seek to serve the Parish community through our ongoing provision of uniformed youth work. Our Parish Hall is home to the excellent Wellington-St Matthew's Scout group (Beavers, Cub scouts, Scouts & Venture Scouts) and our church sponsored Brownies. Additionally we provide a home for The Dagger Lane Operatic Society, the Victoria Players (a music hall company) and a keep fit group.

There is an ever increasing pastoral ministry to the elderly (nine residentials & nursing homes are regularly visited), the sick and the dying. Our Parish Church stands as a symbol of this ongoing ministry which it has fulfilled for over 130 years. In 1995, our 125th anniversary year, we responded to the problems of the present roof, which was suffering from nail fatigue. To do this we successfully raised over £50,000 and so ensured that we were ready to continue serving our Parish and City.

Back to History