St Philip the Apostle Sydenham SE26
St Philip the Apostle Sydenham SE26

A Brief History of St Philip's, Sydenham

The original St Philip's building was consecrated by the Bishop of Rochester on 17 December 1867, the foundation stone having been laid on All Saints Day in 1864.  The cost of the building was £6,775.0s.7d raised by public subscription.  The 'new' church was intended to serve the 'spiritual needs of the increasing population of Upper Sydenham'.  Many of the new inhabitants had come to build the railways of South London and to re-erect the Crystal Palace on Sydenham Hill.

For 114 years the original building served the people of the Wells Park and Upper Sydenham area.  In 1888 the Chancel was extended and in 1896 the South Transept was furnished as a chapel.  In 1902 a porch was added in memory of Queen Victoria.   Daily Mass was instituted as early as 1874 and Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament started in 1924 - a constant reminder of the continuing presence among us of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the years following the Second World War the stonework steadily deteriorated.  Many efforts were made to save the 'old' building but the cost of restoration together with adding modern facilities was prohibitively high.  Finally, in the late 1970's, when a significant amount of new building was taking place in the Wells Park area, the decision was taken to demolish the original building and replace it with the new purpose built building you see today.


1983: A New Church Building

Designed by Nigel Melhuish - St Philip's is a flexible building with the main area potentially dividing into three sections.  At one end is the permanent Worship area with seating for up to 60.  This, together with the Blessed Sacrament Chapel is the centre of daily Worship.


At the other end is a hall for social and community activities.  The central section can act as an extension for the hall but is principally to enlarge the seating of the Worship area on Sundays and major feast days.  When there is a really large congregation all three sections can be used.

The new church building was dedicated on 23rd September 1983 by the Bishop of Woolwich, Rt.Rev. Michael Marshall.


Fr Paul Tiernan was instituted as the Parish Priest earlier that month. He retired in November 2021 after 38 years of devoted service to the Parish and the wider community.














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