Petts Wood: The making of a 1920s garden suburb

by Peter Waymark

Religious Provision

As well as providing the new suburb's railway station and shops, Scruby gave the land for the parish church. For four years a temporary wooden structure served the Anglican community until the permanent building was consecrated in 1935. The only church designed by Geoffrey Mullins, an architect who lived nearby in Chislehurst, it provided a contrast to the most ostentatious appearance of the Petts Wood houses. Built mainly of wood and handmade Sussex brick, with a long straight hammerbeam roof, it followed the plan of a medieval tithe barn. It is the only Petts Wood entry, though not an entirely complimentary one, in Sir Nikolaus Pevsner's monumental survey, The Buildings of England. With a woodland setting which echoed the philosophy of the suburb, the church appropriately took the name of St Francis, a man who loved nature.