Monday, 4 January 2010

Deptford Central Hall

Deptford Central Hall was built on slum clearance land in 1903. It was deliberately designed so that it didn't look too church like to attract people into the building who might be put off by a traditional church. When it opened it had a membership of 221, which grew to 1646 by 1908. The mission always had a deep concern for the poverty in the neighbourhood which arose from the intermittent employment opportunities at the local docks. The mission sought to meet the needs of families through soup kitchens, breakfasts for children, distributions of used clothing and even a fund to enable children to go to the seaside From the 1920's the Mission had a concern for disabled and elderly people, reflected in what was then called "The Cripples Guild" and the "Cosy Corner" drop in, and what we now call the DPC The church was bombed in 1940 and the entire west side of the building was destroyed, including the original worship space and the tower. Planning the rebuilding took a long time, but the Mission as it is now opened in 1956, with a renewed energy for its work in the community The Mission celebrated its centenary in 2003.

1 comment:

Lyn said...

In my mother's writing of her childhood she talks of her mother and grandmother going with her brother and sister to the cellar at Central Hall to shelter when the sirens went to warn of an air raid in the first world war (She actually used the word maroon which I understand was like a firework bang that alerted people).
One night they walked to Rotherhithe Tunnel but they found it was too far to walk. She talked of being woken up one night to see a big ball of fire in the sky which was a German Zeppelin which had been shot down at Cuffleys. They lived at Deptford and my mother in law who lived in New Cross also vividly remembers it