St Swithun’s Catholic church at Bromley Common in south London held its 100th birthday on Thursday July 15, St Swithun’s day.
Bishop John Hine, auxiliary in Southwark, celebrated a special Mass in the evening at the church, in Fashoda Road, Bromley Common, to mark the occasion, together with parish priest Fr Bob Mercer.
The church first opened for worship on Whit Sunday in 1910. It was one of seven churches built to a virtually identical basic design – four walls and a roof – from a legacy left by a Miss Ellis.
The then Bishop of Southwark decided to use the money to build churches for the poorer Catholic communities in his charge.
The Bromley Common area had developed to provide homes for people employed in a local gasworks and brickworks, and as agricultural labourers.
St Swithun’s is the only church of the seven to remain virtually unaltered. It served as an outlier to the parish church of St Joseph in Plaistow Lane, Bromley, until gaining the status of a parish church in its own right in 1977.