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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of South-West London

by Peter Kessler, 5 June 2011

Merton Part 2: Churches of Colliers Wood & Mitcham

The Parish Church of St Barnabas Mitcham

The Parish Church of St Barnabas Mitcham stands proudly on the northern side of Gorringe Park Avenue, on the corner with Thirsk Road in Colliers Wood. In 1906 the mission district of St Barnabas was formed as an initiative of Christ Church Colliers Wood. An iron room was built to accommodate services, one of the mass-produced tin churches of which many examples can be found across the former British Empire. St Saviour's in Faversham is a rare survivor in Britain.

The Parish Church of St Barnabas Mitcham

With the construction of the church hall in 1908 and its opening by the bishop of Kingston on 23 January 1909, services were transferred from the tin church to the hall. A mission was established in 1912. On 17 May 1913 the foundation stone for the church itself was laid and on 14 November 1914 the building was consecrated by the bishop of Southwark. A month later the church gained its own parish. The building is in the Gothic style, designed by H P Burke Downing.

Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Assumption

The Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Assumption is on the northern side of Links Road, very close to Streatham Road, on a site donated in 1908. During the Second World War an air-raid shelter stood here. A wooden church later replaced the Scout hut in which Mass was celebrated and a new parish was formed. The wooden church was severely damaged in the 1987 hurricane and the foundation stone for the present building was laid in 1988. The work was completed in 2005.

Mitcham Baptist Church

Mitcham Baptist Church is tucked in behind the High Street shops on the eastern side of London Road, opposite Holbourne Road in Mitcham. The main direction of the old village of Mitcham was north-east and south-west along the main road from London to Sutton, although by 1912 Mitcham was practically a suburb of London. There were Baptist, Congregational, Primitive Methodist and two United Methodist chapels in the parish, although details are unavailable.

The Parish Church of St Mark Mitcham

The Parish Church of St Mark Mitcham is at the south-eastern corner of St Mark's Road and Baker Lane. Designed by R M Chart, the church consists of a chancel, north transept with vestry and organ chamber, south chapel, nave, north and south aisles, west baptistery, and north porch. A mission district was established in Upper Mitcham in 1891. The nave and aisles were built in 1899. The parish was created out of that of St Peter and St Paul Mitcham in 1905.

The Parish Church of St Mark Mitcham

The chancel, north transept and south chapel were added to the building in 1910, by which time it was known as the Church of St Mark Upper Mitcham. The style of construction is approximately that of the thirteenth century, and the materials are red brick with stone dressings and tiled timber roofs. A new organ was installed in 1931. By 2010, half the church building was being used as a family centre during the day, supporting people of all ages in different ways.

All photos on this page by P L Kessler.

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