Saturday, March 01, 2014

A Welsh Church on Lewisham Way

St David's Day seems like a good time to document a lost local Welsh institution. The Presbyterian Church of Wales (Eglwys Bresbyteraidd Cymru) was open until recently at 289 Lewisham Way SE4. Its location suggests that at one time there must have been enough Welsh speaking presbyterians locally to sustain a congregation - or maybe they chose the site because Lewisham is an anagram of 'I Am Welsh'!

I am not sure when it closed, but the church and its neighbouring vicarage were put up for sale early last year and a nursery is opening there soon. The church building dates back to 1924, the minister's house being part of an earlier Georgian mansion.  The church had previously met (from 1901) at 2 Undercliff Road in what later became Loampit Gospel Hall.

interior of church (from Church Properties)
There are some recollections of the chapel in the comments to this thread at Brockley Central. Apparently the opera singer Geraint Evans (1922-1992) was sometimes among the congregation, and the actor Meredith Edwards (1917-1999).

photo by R.Sones at Geolocation


Malcolm Bacchus said...

The Minister's House was originally called Lucas Villa and was built in 1824 as the private residence of the Lucas family. Jonathan Lucas, who returned from making his fortune in South Carolina, bought it and the surrounding land. His family developed the estate of Deptford New Town (now what we call St John's). When St John's Church was built (1854-5) to serve the new parish, the family sold the house to St John's to become its Vicarage - the church was built in its garden. Subsequently St John's church sold the Vicarage to the Welsh Presbyterian Church in 1924 when the hall was built.

Transpontine said...

Thanks Malcolm, there is apparently something in the deeds of the Welsh church building specifying that it must not be used for alcohol or anything that interferes with the business of St Johns.