St Luke’s Church, West Norwood, London.
Captured in the evening sun with a very dark strom cloud overhead. Later it rained quite heavily.
Church History St Luke’s is a Grade II listed building, which stands on a prominent triangular site at the south end of Norwood Road, where it forks to become Knights Hill and Norwood High Street.
It was designed by Francis Octavius Bedford in 1822, as a result of the Church Building Act of 1818, in response to the end of the Napoleonic wars and the growing urban population.
St Luke’s is known as a Commissioners’ church because it received a grant from the Church Building Commission towards the cost of its construction; the church cost £12,947 (£890,000 as of 2011) to build, and the grant was £6,447.
The builder was Mrs Elizabeth Broomfield of Walworth and the foundation stone was laid by the Archbishop of Canterbury on 14 April 1823. It was constructed along with St. Matthew’s, Brixton, St. Mark’s, Kennington and St. John’s, Waterloo-road. These four Waterloo churches were named after the first gospels of the New Testament, and were specified to have 1800-2000 sittings, vaults for burials, be constructed of brick with stone dressing and cost no more than £13,000 each. In 1825, The Bishop of Winchester dedicated the church. Not only is it similar to St John’s, Waterloo, but the exterior of the building also resembles two other churches that were designed by the same architect, namely St George, Wells Way, Camberwell, and Camberwell Holy Trinity, Southwark.
The building was at first endowed with box pews, galleries and a triple-decker pulpit, and provided seating for a total congregation of about 1,800. Between 1870 and 1872 the premises were extensively changed by G E Street, who dramatically rearranged the interior. The galleries were also removed, reducing the seating by more than half. Over the years, different stained glass windows have also been added.
In 1976 a floor was put into the chancel, making a small hall above. Both rooms are now used for Sunday school. Toilets and a kitchen were later added. The pews were replaced in 2005 by red chairs, which are arranged to face the front.