Danson: A private development of the 1930s


Church attendance fell after the First World War, but churchgoing remained a regular part of life for many people. The rapid growth of Welling’s population led to a sizeable increase in the size of congregations. St Michael’s, East Wickham, recorded 73 communicants on Easter Day in 1919 but had 314 on the same day in 1939. The ancient parish church could not accommodate such numbers, so in 1926 land was bought on an adjoining site and work begun on building a new church. This building was consecrated in 1933.

The following year a daughter church, St Mary’s Welling, was established. St Mary’s had 273 Easter Day communicants in 1939, but it did not gain its own building until 1955. These congregation rises were repeated in many churches. St John’s Welling rose from 54 communicants in 1919 to 394 in 1939. It, too, acquired a new building and was constituted a parish at the same time in 1926. This construction programme involved an enormous fundraising effort assisted by a special fund established by the Bishop of Rochester.

Growth was not confined to the Anglican Church. St Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church was established in Bellegrove in 1923. Welling Methodist Church was built nearby in 1935. The existing Congregationalist Church acquired new premises in Danson Lane around the same time.