Although there is evidence of settlement in the wider area from Roman times, with an Anglo-Saxon settlement, a mediaeval chapel and the famous Carew Manor, the suburban area in which St. Patrick’s Church sits was first developed after the arrival of the railway in 1844. In the 1867 Holy Trinity was built as the church for the new Parish of Wallington and by the early 1900s the town had continued to develop further south, up the hill. The Reverend G F Irwin saw the need for a new church plant and by 1910 the land was secured and a committee was held on 17th March to discuss the building project. The church took its name from the patron saint of that day: St. Patrick! By 1st April 1911 a temporary wood and iron church had been built and was dedicated by the Bishop of Kingston.
Being a church within the Parish of Wallington, rather than a Parish in its own right, St Patrick’s had a ‘curate-in-charge’, rather than a ‘vicar’ for many years. The first of these was the Reverend Day who led the new church into an active beginning, continuing to flourish over the years. It was hoped that a permanent building would replace the temporary one but the first World War meant that this had to be put aside until the early 1930s, although the congregation carried on fundraising with the idea that the new building would serve as a memorial to those in the parish who had been lost in the conflict. The new church building was finally dedicated by the Bishop of Southwark on 12th November 1932. St. Patrick’s carved wooden Communion Table was presented by lay reader and churchwarden Mr Withall and his wife, in memory of their son who was killed at the Battle of the Somme.
Only a few years after the dedication, Britain was at war again. Most of the children and young people of St. Patrick’s were evacuated or called up while older members were also involved with war work of various sorts. Moreover, the blackout meant that evensong had to be held in the mid-afternoon during the winter and at times services were cancelled altogether due to air raids. Many services saw a sad drop in numbers but as the war continued the church rallied and the numbers of people seeking peace, hope and forgiveness from God rose. In 1942 a Christmas Toy Service was held for the children of Queen Mary’s Hospital; a tradition that continues today through our December Toy Service for Home-Start.
The post-war years saw much growth and exciting changes for St. Patrick’s. Initially, there was no Curate-in-Charge, which meant that The Vicar at Holy Trinity had to shoulder the leadership himself. However, God had plans for St. Patrick’s and in the mid-1950s the Rev. John Delight was appointed as Curate-in-Charge and a new clergy house in Marchmont Road was purchased for him and his wife, Eileen. John Delight was a home-visitor extraordinaire and under his leadership many of the well-loved St. Patrick’s institutions were born including the mums’ group TGI Thursday’s, originally known as ‘Young Wives’, and Carols by Candlelight.
In the years that have followed, St. Patrick’s and its neighbourhood have seen many changes but St. Patrick’s has remained, steadfast, as a centre of worship and service to Almighty God. Many dedicated, hardworking and, most importantly, faithful men and women have served here as ministers, readers, wardens, secretaries and administrators, treasurers, Sunday school teachers, musicians, youth workers, pastoral assistants, servers of refreshments, cooks, cleaners, flower arrangers, gardeners, decorators and artists, to name but a few! St. Patrick’s is, ultimately, a people rather than a place. It is now a Parish in its own right and our ordained minister, David King, is consequently the ‘Vicar’, rather than a ‘Curate’, but his role as a curator of God’s church and people of St. Patrick’s continues as we face the future. Over the next few years we hope to build a new church hall building that will allow us to continue to serve God and our community, creating new history for St. Patricks’.