The church is said to stand on the site of a Civil War fort. A plaque on the green opposite commemorates King Charles's visits to "The Shield Field" when a prisoner at Newcastle - he was permitted recreation time here. It is difficult now to imagine the Victorian Shieldfield that Christ Church was built to serve, let alone the Shieldfield where King Charles played golf! Nothing is left of the old flats and tenements - only the pubs and the church.
In fact, the local community has survived the redevelopment of the 1960s and 70s remarkably well. The church was consecrated in 1861, and is a fine example of the Victorian Gothic style. The exterior stonework, never having been cleaned, may give it a forbidding appearance. But by contrast the interior surprises and delights the visitor with its blend of space, light and the numinous. The sanctuary and chancel are one of the earliest examples of re-ordering for west-facing presidency. This is achieved in a way which respects both the priorities of modern worship, and the original design of the building.
Today the church is used by a small local congregation and the adjoining Christ Church Primary School. School uses the church to learn about Christianity as well as for services during the year, e.g. carol service, Christingle, Epiphany, Candlemas, Ash Wednesday and Pentecost.
It is also being developed as a centre of excellence for circus skills, in collaboration with the North East Circus Development Trust, and 'Let's Circus'. It known as 'Circus Central'.
The church will remain a place of worship while being reordered to accommodate the circus school who are planning to erect a rigging so the space can be fully utilised. We hope that this will lead to a flourishing of the church, circus and community. The church is usually open on Friday mornings in addition to the usual service times.
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