Church of England Diocese of Southwark Peckham St. John with St. Andrew

About the church

Built: 1965 - 66
Architect: David Bush
Listing: not listed

The Church and Parish Centre of St John, Peckham, replaced the demolished and bombed buildings of St Chrysostom and St Jude, two Parishes amalgamated after the war.

A truly theological and quite unique brief, following on from a weekend building conference at Sevenoaks, provided much of the inspiration for the design of the Centre. A re-appraisal of the basic requirements for the Christian liturgy resulted in the provision of a building set in the midst of a crowded residential district, in it and of it and for it yet able to give retreat from it, an enclosure for worship and Communion not only for the present, but allowing flexibility for the changing needs of tomorrow.

Since its Consecration, the buildings have shown their suitability for religious and secular use, the regular Services of the Church, music and drama, the spoken word and the concert, for large or small groups of people, and the provision of physical and spiritual refreshment. The Centre comprises the main Room for worship with separate Chapel and vestries, a Parish Office, Meeting Room, kitchen and coffee bar, with lavatory and cloakroom accommodation, and a Vicarage, garages and provision for parking.

The layout is designed to give easy access between each part of the building, by way of the main entrance and foyer. At the same time it allows for separating one part from another when required, each with its own entrance. Each section also provided with its own internal garden or court, for use independently or combined for open air functions.

The building material is predominantly brick, with copper roof covering to Church, Chapel and Vicarage. The internal walls of the Church are also brick facings, with a sawn softwood ceiling. Other rooms have plain brick or plastered walls, ceilings of softwood or plaster, and wood block floors.

The Church roof has a two-way pitch, with the portion over the Sanctuary continued up to meet the Tower feature, giving additional emphasis, an up-lift, above the Altar. This enables a triangular window to be inserted over this area, concealed from the congregation, in order to give indirect lighting to the Altar.

Three coloured glass and concrete windows in Church and Chapel were designed by Susan Johnson. The theme for the seven light Church window is the Creation, while the large Chapel window is devised around the plan and details of the Church layout.

The main items of seating are constructed in Iroko hardwood and metal framing, with brick and Iroko Altars, and Pulpit. The stone Font has been carved from one of the columns of the original bombed Church of St. Jude, while St. Chrysostom's provided the stone for the Consecration Cross.

The sculptured figure of a mother and child is by Ron Hinton, made in fibreglass with a bronzed finish. The bronze figure of the crucified Christ, together with the bell, also came from the former Parish Church.