The following gives you an overview of the St Peter's story so far. But the history of St Peter's is always being written, so do join us in the next chapter of the adventure.
In 1874 the riverfront in Battersea was a thriving industrial area filled with warehouses, docks, mills and factories. Between the river and Clapham Junction grew streets of terraced houses for the local workers and their families. As a response to the growing population a church was built - the foundation stone was laid on St Peter’s day in 1875 and consecration of the site took place exactly a year later. The building was used regularly as a place of worship for nearly 100 years.
In the middle of the 20th Century the landscape around the church changed dramatically. The rows of terraced houses were demolished to make way for the construction of the Winstanley Estate. Tragedy struck in 1970 when the church was destroyed by fire on Bonfire Night. The church was deemed beyond repair and the site was temporarily desolate. The open space, by then a rare thing on the estate, found other uses including a make-shift adventure playground for local children.
Thanks to the community and church family, St Peter’s continued to thrive as a local church, including running a youth group with over 200 members. A modest single storey building was constructed in 1974 to house the church's activities. Rev Michael Wimshurst was the vicar of St Peter’s through these changes and when he retired in the late 1990s the church faced an uncertain future. The faithful family of St Peter’s helped to see off closure and merger during those lean times.
Help then came from the neighbouring church of St Mark’s Battersea Rise. The Rev Paul Perkin had a vision to see growth in the area once again and sent a small group, headed by Irene & Peter Wolstenholme, to prepare the ground. In 2007 a group of 19 adults from St Mark’s, led by Patrick Malone, joined the existing congregation. Their number was added to over time by local residents and others keen to join the church family witnessing to Christ in the local area.
Through relationships with the local community, as well as through its Sunday celebrations, weekly groups and community events (such as God Loves Battersea) St Peter’s sought to bring hope and lasting change to the diverse community that surrounds it. Over time it became clear that the building constructed in 1974 was no longer fit for purpose and in January 2014 demolition and construction began on a new church building, due to be completed in 2018 - click here for more info.
During this construction period the church family has been blessed to meet for a brief period in York Gardens library and then in its current location – St Peter’s Centre. In the heart of the Winstanley Estate, the Centre has become a temporary home and a place of welcome and outreach. We look forward to moving into our new building, which will be a place of worship and prayer, mission and a blessing to the Winstanley Estate, Battersea and beyond.