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St John's has been at the heart of Fulham since 1828. Situated on the corner of the Fulham Broadway and North End Road, famous for it's daily market, St John's continues to be a centre for the community.
Built in 1828 from a £1,000,000.00 fund created as an act of thanksgiving by Parliament for the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo the church was designed to meet the needs of the new communities growing up in west London. It's original congregation was dominated by the market gardeners, milkmaids and servants of the surrounding large houses. It had seats for 1300 people spread through box pews, 3 galleries and benches for the very poor (these were the only seats you didn't have to pay for!). It's built in a mixture of styles with a shallow Georgian chancel and pointed Gothic revival arches and windows. The original east window, a copy of Raphael's Transfiguration, blew out in a gale in the 1880's and was replaced by the Rev'd Batty and his brother in memory of their mother.
Recent refurbishment of the churchyard (opened in 1832 and closed in 1852) revealed that of the 700 burials over a 20 year period only 12 had coffins. The 19th century saw horrendous poverty and educational deprivation amongst the population of the parish. The Parish School, opened in 1832, was just the first of many attempts to alleviate the harshness of life. The determination of clergy, from the 1870's onwards, to introduce music, light and colour into worship led the Vicar and Churchwardens of St John's before the Ecclesiastical Committee of the Privy Council for 'ritualistic offences'. The brass cross and two candles on the altar didn't shake the confidence of those living locally but might have caused Henry Wood, later founder of 'the Proms', to cut short his time as Organist at St John's. The original parish was divided into several new units including St Matthew's, Wandsworth Bridge Road, but by the early 1980's had gained her current shape (Lillie Road to the north, Rylston Road, Homestead Road, Kelvedon Road and Parson's Green Lane to the west, New King's Road and Imperial Road to the south and the London North Cross Railway Line to the east.) In 2001 the Census revealed a population of 16,000 since which time the new Imperial Wharf development has opened increasing our responsibilities further.
The interior of the church was re-ordered in 1988 to bring the worship space in line with the liturgical reforms of the late 20th century. This means that we can enjoy an exciting and God-focussed worship space whilst still inhabiting an historical Grade II listed building.
Opposite the church St John's Parish Hall, now attractive offices and a bar, was once the hub of a network of clubs, societies and social support. The Batty brothers, vicar and curate, worked the parish in the 1880's, declaring that light, colour, movement and joy should be the marks of Christian worship making churchgoing as attractive as the Edwardian comedian Dan Leno made his theatre in Walham Green, now the site of Barclays Bank. St John's continues to work to support our local community with a place of peace, beauty and joy.
WEEKLY AT ST JOHN'S