All Saints Church, Petersham
The church was commissioned in 1899 by Rachel Laetitia Warde to accommodate the expected growth in population in Petersham and to commemorate her parents. She died in 1906 before the church was completed and the the project was finished by her son Lionel. The church had a separate church hall and institute and was built in the grounds of Bute House. It was built in red brick and terracotta in ths tyle of a basilica with a 118 foot high bell tower.
The church was never consecrated as Petersham did not expand as expected but it was used occasionally by the parish (for weddings up to 1981) and also by the Greek Orthodox Church. It ceased to be used as a church in 1986 and was sold off by the Diocese in 1996 and converted into a private house. It was requisitioned during the 2nd World War and used as a radar and anti-aircraft command post. It has also been used as a recording studio, an exercise studion and a filming location. The hall is now Petersham Village Hall.
Ham Christian Centre, Lock Road
The church was built in 1928 as the Ham Free Evangelical Church. Services ceased in 1979 but it has operated in its current form since the building was renovated in 1998 by the Duke Street Church, Richmond.
St Andrew’s, Ham Common
The church was built in 1832 as a daughter church of All Saints in Kingston and it remains in the Kingston Deanery while St Richards is in the Richmond Deanery. Before that time people from Ham had to walk to Kingston for all services. Only those who could afford to pay for pews could go to St Peter’s in Petersham. The church hall adjacent to the church was built after the 2nd World War. Before that, the Working Men’s Club in New Road (renamed Ham Institute and Church Hall in 1932) had performed the function with particularly strong links when Canon Beard was vicar.
St Peter’s, Petersham
The oldest church in Ham and Petersham. It is possible that there was a church on this site in Saxon times. The oldest part that can be seen today is a blocked Norman lancet window in the chancel. It still has its Georgian boxed pews and is famous for being the burial place of George Vancouver. The church was damaged during the 2nd World War and the Canadian city of Vancouver gave a significant sum towards the cost of restoration.
St Richard’s, Wates Estate
St Richard’s church began in 1964 as a hut close to the site of the present building, looking like a workman’s hut in the centre of a large building site. The foundation stone was laid by Norman Wates on 19 September 1964 and on 20 May 1966 the church was consecrated to St Richard of Chichester by the Right Reverend Mervyn Stockwood, the Bishop of Southwark.
Catholic Church (now St Thomas Aquinas), Ham Common
Before 1955 the needs of Catholics in Ham and Petersham were served by St Elizabeth’s in Richmond (from 1840) and St Raphaels in Kingston (from 1850). In 1855 Canon Holdstock and his school moved to Beaufort House in Ham St and a temporary mission chapel was set up in the grounds of the house. This was closed in 1869. In 1892 Lady Huntingtower applied to have Mass celebrated at Ham House and said she would allow Catholics living in Ham to attend. This was granted and continued until her death in 1896. In 1899 St Agatha’s church opened in North Kingston.
It was not until 1953 that a new Catholic place of worship opened, the “Tin Hut” on Ham St (where 201-207 Ham St now stand). It was a chapel-of-ease of St Elizabeth’s and was dedicated to St Thomas Aquinas on 22 February 1953. Key driving force behind the new church was Sir Richard Cave who had bought the site and donated it to the Southwark Diocese. There were seven failed planning applications for a permanent church building between 1943 and the mid 1960’s. The Ham and Petersham Ratepayers Association opposed the suggestion that the former St Andrew’s School be used but the land was purchased from the Anglican Authorities in 1966. In 1967 St Thomas Aquinas moved to its new site and the first Mass was celebrated 14 October 1968. In 1985 St Thomas’s became a parish in its own right and a flat was built above for priest.
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