History

The history of All Saints church

In the 1840’s Hackbridge and Beddington Corner were two distinct hamlets separated by fields and orchards. Hackbridge consisted of about 20 houses next to the bridge over the river Wandle, the homes of quite poor agricultural workers for the farms and estates around. Beddington Corner was a string of 60 cottages along the London Road,where the Mill Green estate now stands. These were used by the industrial mill workers who worked in the mills along the Wandle producing leather, lavender water, snuff, paper and gunpowder.

Beddington Corner was so called because the area formed a corner with the parishes of Carshalton and Mitcham. At this time the area was part of the large parish of Beddington which stretched from Mitcham to Coulsdon, and was largely rural, This changed from 1859 on when the Carew family had to sell off their estate to pay their gambling debts.

In 1843 the Rector of Beddington, Rev Alexander Hamilton, built a school for local children on Mill Green in Beddington Corner opposite the Goat pub. From 1849, it doubled as a church on Sunday, with services on Sundays and Wednesday evenings being taken by curates from St Mary’s Beddington. It was closed in about 1912, being bought by two manufacturing companies (first snuff, then glue) abandoned in 1926 and finally demolished about 5 years later.

It was replaced in 1893 with an “iron church” on the present site of All Saints Centre as a chapel-of-ease for the parish of Beddington. It was called the “All Saints Beddington Corner and Hackbridge Mission Church”. It was made of corrugated iron on the outside and wood panelling on the interior, with a fine stained glass east window which was transferred to the lady chapel of the new brick-and-stone built church in 1930. In 1901 the “Men’s Meeting” set up their own church council as the church started to develop its own independent life. Photographs taken then show 27 men and boys in the church choir, and 50 ladies and girls, all with hats.

Some time between 1893 and 1913 a large and frankly ugly iron extension was built on the south of the chancel for social events.

In 1916 Rev James Bevan came as a Missionary Priest to be the first vicar of the parish and build the present All Saints Church. It took two years to build, helped by the Diocese of Southwark’s “Twenty-Five Churches Fund”. By 1928 over £6,000 had been raised for the building costs of £9,270, plus fittings. It opened in 1930, but was not consecrated until 19th May 1931 after the church had paid off more of its debt. In 1917 we became the separate parish of North Beddington. This was changed to Hackbridge and North Beddington in the mid-1970’s and finally in 2001 to Hackbridge and Beddington Corner, when the parish boundaries were re-drawn to give some streets at the bottom of Beddington Lane to the parish of Beddington.

The iron church remained open for social events and organisations. About 1946 James Bevan arranged with Mullards factory to replace the nave of the iron church with a brick-built hall and stage to carryon the social life of the parish. (Mullards, a groundbreaking electrical and electronics company, came to New Road in 1929 and eventually employed over 4,000 people. It was bought up by Phillips and finally demolished in 1995). In the 1970’s Adrian Esdaile, vicar from 1968 to 1980, replaced the last remnants of the iron church with two additional brick halls, helped by voluntary labour from the church and community. At that time it included a medical room where babies were weighed and a small public library.

In the 1950’s the vicarage moved from 9 New Road to a purpose- built vicarage in the church grounds. In the 1980’s Rev Michael Dymmock opened up the chancel by removing the choir stalls and the reredos behind the altar.

By 1994 the All Saints Church Centre was in a very poor condition. Helped by the Government’s Single Regeneration Budget, Tudor Trust and the Lottery Fund, £250,000 was raised to renovate the Centre completely, with a new front entrance, a commercial kitchen and many storage cupboards. It is now used by a thriving nursery, two churches and many local community groups and activities.

In 2013 there was a simple re-ordering of the east end of the church which brought the altar nearer the congregation in the main Sunday service, and provided a place of personal prayer and quiet in the sanctuary. A community garden was created in the church grounds which were made much more inviting for local people to come and make use of.

Early 2015 has seen a major development at the church, funded largely by Viridor Credits Environmental Company. A toilet has been created in the north porch and a kitchenette and welcome counter erected at the west end. A line of solar panels has been installed on the roof.

We are now able to welcome individuals, and community groups to enjoy the space and peace of our beautiful church. Come and see us!

Postcript – What’s wrong with our address?

The official address of All Saints is:
New Road, Mitcham, Surrey, CR4 4JL

Almost everything is wrong about it.

The postcode CR4 sounds like it is in Croydon, a fate which we share with Mitcham and Beddington. Actually we are in the borough of Sutton, where insurance premiums are cheaper!

Our county is not Surrey – we have been part of the London Borough of Sutton since 1965.

We are definitely not in Mitcham and never have been. The anomaly came about when post offices were opened in Hackbridge and Beddington Corner, and were named after the nearest railway station, viz. Hackbridge and Mitcham Junction. In the mid-1990s the Post Office officially dropped the designation “Junction”, with the result that there are two London Roads Mitcham two miles apart from each other. The Post Office insists on calling us Mitcham, because our mail is directed through the Mitcham post office, but for everything else we are in Sutton. Sutton is our local authority, our police force, our voluntary support groups and church bodies like Sutton Deanery, the Archdeaconry of Croydon and Sutton, (which means we have access to two C of E secondary schools in Croydon), and Churches Together in Beddington and Wallington.

New Road is correct (though in 1880 it was called Occupation Road).

So, in a better though still imperfect world, our address would be:
New Road, Beddington Corner, near Mitcham, CR4 4JL

What about Hackbridge?

Half of the parish has the postcode SM6. This relates, thankfully, to the borough of Sutton. However the Post Office gets annoyed when people address post to us as Hackbridge and insist we are Wallington. This is irritating but not too terrible because prior to 1965 we were part of the municipal borough of Beddington and Wallington – as was Beddington Corner.