698 Woolwich Road, Woolwich, London SE7
A simple but elegant chapel of 1961 by Walters & Kerr Bate. Built to serve the workers at the adjacent industrial estate, it continues to be used as a chapel of ease for Woolwich.
Canon William Monk, parish priest of Woolwich, started a Mass Centre at Upper Charlton (New Charlton) in 1954 to serve the local Catholics working for Siemens and other local factories. Mass was initially said in a hall, while the new church was planned. The site was acquired, and Walters & Kerr Bate appointed to build a chapel to seat 250, with an equally large hall to the rear. The tender for both buildings was £19,820. The buildings were opened on 28 May 1961, when the first Mass was said at St Catherine’s. The considerable Mass attendance during the first few years fell in the early 1970s when many factories closed and people moved away.
The chapel faces south; however, this description uses conventional liturgical orientation.
The chapel was built in 1961 to designs by Walters & Kerr Bate. It is built in stock brick, laid in garden wall bond, with Bath stone dressings and a pantile pitched roof. The plan is a Greek cross, with the main axis (and roof ridge) running north-south. The street facade (the liturgical south side) has a five-light window.
The entrance at the southwest has an internal glazed timber wind porch. The west end has a row of six windows and a timber confessional in the northwest corner. A large arch divides the west end from the main space which has a queen post roof. There is a gallery above the north arm. Beyond the north wall are the sacristy, a connecting door to the attached hall, and stone steps up to the gallery. Like the west end, the east end has a lean-to roof separated from the main space by a large arch, with the addition of a gabled cross-roof behind the altar. A crucifix hangs below a tester; on either side are statues of Our Lady of Lourdes and St Catherine Labouré. To the south is the Blessed Sacrament chapel with the tabernacle and an adjacent statue of the Sacred Heart. The sanctuary furniture and benches are modern and of timber; the font has a metal plaque with the Virgin and the Child, dated 1974.
Original Date: 1961
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed