Deptford New Town: A 19th century working class estate

Churches and St Johnís Parish

The Lucas family was behind the most important institution in the area, the parish of St John. As well as providing spiritual care, the parish also provided education and social relief to the area. St Johnís parish was established in 1855. The building plot and the finance for the building of the church and its mission hall were provided by John Seymour Spencer Lucas; he also donated Lucas Villa to the parish, so providing it with a vicarage and provided the land for the building of St Johnís Schools. The first vicar, Canon C F S Money provided an energy that matched Lucasí philanthropy. He was vicar from 1855 to 1883. On the spiritual side he established a scripture reading association and a branch of the Church Missionary Society. He established the school and, on the site of the Ebenezer Chapel in King Street, the St Johnís Mission Hall, with seating for 500. This at once provided a launch pad for evangelism and place of worship for the poorest in the district and sealed the social exclusivity of the main church.