Building » Mitcham – St Peter and St Paul

Mitcham – St Peter and St Paul

Cranmer Road, Mitcham CR4

A modest building of the 1880s built under the patronage of the Simpson family of Mitcham and designed by F. A. Walters, who was responsible for several other churches in the area. The church and its adjoining presbytery form a good group on the edge of Mitcham Common. The interior of the church is chiefly notable for its handsome timber hammerbeam roof.

A small brick chapel/school was erected on a site set back from the frontage of the southwest side of Mitcham Lower Green in 1861 under the auspices of William Simpson, a member of a local family of Catholic converts.  Plans for a Gothic church were prepared by F. A. Walters, but never realised. The site for the present church a little way further south was given in 1887 by Winifred Simpson and a new church and presbytery were built the following year, from designs by F. A. Walters, but this time to a more economical Romanesque design. There are undated drawings by Walters for an elaborate baldacchino in the RIBA Drawings collection, very similar to the design later adopted at Borough (qv); it would appear that the design was rejected at Mitcham and later revived at Borough. In 1896 the old church was demolished to allow the expansion of the school. The 1880s building was enlarged in 1938 by the addition of a new sanctuary and a small Lady Chapel. A stone pulpit was originally set in the middle of the north wall of the nave but was later moved to the south side of the chancel arch. It was dismantled and the stonework re-used in the remodelling of the sanctuary in the 1960s.


Both church and the adjacent presbytery are faced with yellow London stock brick with some blue brick ornament; the roof is covered with tiles. The plan comprises an unaisled nave with a northwest bellcote, a northeast baptistery and a small sanctuary. The main west front has a tall gabled centre flanked by the lower hipped ends of the nave roof. The centre has a broad main doorway under a semi-circular arch with brick decoration in the tympanum. Above the doorway is a small majolica roundel of the Virgin and child flanked by two tall round-headed windows. The head of the gable above the windows has the keys of St Peter worked in blue brick under a wide semi-circular arch. The lower parts of this front are blind, with corner buttresses. The south wall is of six bays divided by plain brick buttresses; the west bay has a single small window, the other bays have larger round headed windows in the centre of the bay. In the west bay of the north side the wall-face is continued upward to form a bellcote with three bells; this was apparently a late addition to the design. The fourth bay from the west end has a projecting Lady Chapel under its own pitched roof.

Internally, the main nave space is covered by a handsome timber hammerbeam roof. The principal roof trusses rest on pilaster projections from the nave wall. The nave floor is parquet, the walls are plastered and painted. The windows are all clear glazed. At the west end of the nave is an organ gallery, enclosed beneath. A semi-circular arch on the south side of the nave opens into a small Lady Chapel, the walls painted blue. In the east wall of the nave is a tall semi-circular arch on corbels which opens into the sanctuary. To the left is an arched doorway leading to the sacristy and presbytery passage. The sanctuary is raised three steps above the nave; the steps are set into stone sanctuary rails which break forward on the right hand side to enclose the lectern. The sanctuary space has a three-sided timber roof, two small windows in each side wall and a blind apsidal east end. Two of the side windows have stained glass, with St Peter on the north side and St Paul on the south side. There is a stone nave altar and a stone high altar with a reredos and a painted timber Rood on the east wall all under a gilt canopy. The high altar and reredos may be original, the canopy presumably dates from the 1930s, the nave altar rail and ambo are of the 1960s or later. A stone tablet at the west end of the nave commemorates the Simpson family, who were the principal benefactors to the church.

Heritage Details

Architect: F. A. Walters

Original Date: 1888

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed