The church building
Built: 1712 - 30
Architect: Thomas Archer
Listing: Grade 1
"The finest Baroque Church north of the Alps"
"The Pearl in the Heart of Deptford"
S. Paul's Church, one of the fifty Commissioners' Churches, was designed by Thomas Archer (c.1668-1743), a Commissioner himself, and was constructed between the years 1712-1730 when it was consecrated. The triangular Rectory, also by Archer was demolished c.1885.
The church was described by Basil Clarke as follows:
"It is a most imposing church, and is made more so by the stone platform on which it stands. It is almost square though it is, in fact, planned as a nave and aisles. At the four corners are the usual vestibules and vestries, two-storied, with canted walls within the church. The two sides have slight projections of three bays, with pediments; the walls are adorned by pilasters with intermittent rustications.
The tower is circular, with windows, like those of the towers of St John's, Smith Square, and a spire: the basement is surrounded by a semi-circular portico. At the east is an apse, with a Venetian window which follows the curve. The order inside is Corinthian. The ceiling has admirable plaster work.
There were Victorian repairs in 1856 (John Whichcord) and 1883 (Thomas Dinwiddy), and a sympathetic restoration in the 1930s by Eden and Marchant. The Victorian Norman font came from Rochester Cathedral: the original font was sent to a mission church abroad."
The brick vaulted basement was refurbished and provided with improved sanitation and a new kitchen in 1993.