St Jude's Church

St Jude

In 1806, the Philanthropic Society built a chapel attached to their School. The School, which gave an education and training to young criminals, dedicated the chapel to St Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes. The chapel was built in the late Georgian style and, when the Society moved out of London to Redhill, was purchased by the Trustees of the Southwark Church Building Fund in 1849. The parish of St Jude was formed from a part of the parish of St George the Martyr and the church consecrated in 1850.

By 1888, the exterior stonework of the church had decayed and the roof was leaking and dangerous. An appeal was launched to raise money to either repair or to rebuild the church. 150,000 letters were written with a postal bill of just over 630. In return, subscriptions ranging from 25 to two penny stamps were received totalling 3628. A fund raising leaflet 'On Stony Ground' was written some time in the 1890s by the incumbent Revd. J W Pitchford and describes the parish:

"We have no rich or even prosperous parishioners to whom to appeal, no large manufacturers or merchants carrying on their business here. The population (numbering over 8,000) is composed of struggling artizans, small traders, makers of such curious commodities as doll's eyes, ... tin toys, toothpicks and pill boxes; and lastly many of the poor or unemployable poor.
"As soon as ever a small traders gets together significant capital he goes to the suburbs where trade is busier and existence more pleasant"

Revd. Pitchford was a little inaccurate when he stated he had no prosperous parishioners as the inhabitants of West Square were comparatively well off.

Interviewed in 1899 for the Charles Booth Poverty Maps, conditions seemed to have changed for he reported that "a local tendency as new building takes the place of old, is for the people of a slightly better class to come in. He believed visiting within the parish was fairly thorough and that they knew about all cases of distress "except those that intentionally hid themselves." Organisations ran by the church included a soup kitchen, a Band of Hope and Mothers' Meetings.

In November 1897, with the 3628 raised which was enough to start to build a new church, an architect Mr W J H Levetton was appointed who estimated the cost of the new church to be 4000. The old church that had run from North to South was pulled down and the new church running from West to East was built. Bath stone was chosen over Portland stone as it was less expensive. The building programme overran and the budget overspent but finally the church was consecrated on 10 July 1899. Revd. Pitchford's letter writing had resulted in donations from the Duke of Westminster, Lord Bath, Lord Salisbury and Mr Balfour.


The church was declared redundant in 1980 and the parish merged with St Alphege. The church is currently used as a community centre.

Philanthropic chapel

Philanthropic Society Chapel


P92/JUD/111 'On Stony Ground' fund raising leaflet for new church
P92/JUD/117 Manuscript history of St Jude's and notes
P92/JUD/113a,b Letter from Amy Pitchford, 17 May 1950

Interview with Revd. J W Pitchford, St Jude's Charles Booth Notebooks, District 31 Book No. C1, 1899
The Times, 11 July 1899