History Timeline


The Haberdasher’s Company give land and £85,000 for a Church.
First vicar puts up the temporary “tin church”.


St Catharine's Church, Hatcham

The permanent Church is dedicated on 10 October.


The Church Hall is built.


Church is damaged by fire (alleged to be the work of the suffragette movement but there is no evidence for this). Publicity led to successful appeal to rebuild.


The rebuilding is finished.


The High Altar and Lady Chapel are refurbished.


An aumbry for the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament is added to the North Wall of the Chancel.


A fire bomb destroys the roof and pews on 9 September, the first night of the blitz.
The Church moves into Aske’s School Dining Hall as the Church Hall is used for the crew operating the RAF Barrage Balloon in the park. Less than a month later the School Dining Hall is hit and destroyed and the church moves to the School’s main Hall.


The RAF move out, the school returns and the church moves back into the Church Hall.


The rebuilding and refurbishment of the Church is complete and it is rededicated on 29 June.


A new East Window is installed and dedicated in June.

The Church is restored to a plan left by previous vicar, Fr. W.H.J. Fenton.


Vicar Alan Auckland


St Peter’s Chapel is made in the North Transept and dedicated in February.  The organ is restored with a new console on the right of the nave.


Large part of the church grounds is bought by the South Bank Housing Association to build the houses in St Catherine’s Drive.  The Church Hall is demolished and the Choir Vestry extended to act as a hall


A public meeting held at Samuel Pepys School (later renamed Hatcham Wood and then Telegraph Hill) elects a steering committee for the Telegraph Hill Neighbourhood Council. In November, Charles Jervis, headmaster of Samuel Pepys School is elected first Chair, with Lyn Moss, a member of St Catherine’s congregation as Vice Chair.


The Centre and Library are built and the Church redesigned to make up for the loss of space.  While the work is in progress the congregation worship at the Methodist Church on Kitto Rd, now the House of Bread.  The congregation is able to return to the Church for Midnight Mass at Christmas.


The Centre was opened in 1972 by Bishop Trevor Huddleston the anti-apartheid campaigner, and Glenda Jackson the actor and social campaigner.


The Telegraph Hill Neighbourhood Council runs the Centre in partnership with the Church, (vicar Richard Bird) concentrating on youth work and work with the elderly, funded by grants from Lewisham Council and income from lettings.


Vicar, Malcolm Torry


Grants to the Centre are cut by Lewisham Borough Council and the Telegraph Hill Neighbourhood Council withdraws.

The Parochial Church Council (PCC) sets up a sub-committee, the Centre Management Committee, to run the Centre.  The upper floors of the centre are let to the Carr Gomm Housing Association and the money used to replace the lost grants from Lewisham.


The first Telegraph Hill Arts Festival is held, based in the Church and Centre, with a community performance by members of the congregation and local children as its heart.


Vicar, Francis Makambwe

Lewisham Borough Council closes the Library and Child Clinic and plans to sell the building.

The Library Space is leased to Carr Gomm as a day centre for residents.

Local artists begin a campaign to buy the Library space for community use.  It is agreed by the Centre and the PCC that as the Church is the freeholder of the Centre, it should buy the Library to use as community space.


Lewisham Borough Council withdraws all its funding from the Centre but delays the cuts by six months after an appeal.


The LBL Youth Club and the Lunch Club close


The Council agrees to sell the Library space back to the Church for £80,000.

The Haberdashers Company makes a grant of £50,000 to the Church towards the purchase.

The rest of the money comes from the Church Urban Fund and the Diocese of Southwark.


The Church buys back the Library, completing the purchase in June.

An agreement is entered into with Carr Gomm that it will continue to be used as a residents’ club but that it will also house a community café, open to all, and used as a base for a catering skills training course for adults with special needs.  The Café Orange opens in May 1999.


The income from the office and Café Orange spaces is redistributed by the Church.  The Centre’s income is to be reduced by £4000.


LBL ends Youth Club provision


Carr Gomm ends their Lease on the 1st and 2nd floors and Cafe Orange

Askes School takes over Cafe Orange for their Sixth Form canteen and common room; Cafe Fed is born

The PCC converts flat 2 back to residential use


The PCC lets out the 1st & 2nd floors as Artist’s studios

Lunch Ladies Thursday’s Fish & Chips Club is expanded by 50% and keeps on growing

Lighthouse Social Club starts a bi-weekly lunch club for adults

Bold Vision is formed and creates The Hill Station cafe in the former library car park


Vicar Sheridan James

Parlour Group is formed and Craft Collective is founded

Working with local parents and Somerville Adventure Playground, the Telegraph Hill Youth Club re-opens after being closed for five years.


Bumps Babies & Toddle On weekly pre-school drop-in session run by parents starts


The Hat Making class is re-born.

St James’, who were building new houses in Jerningham Road, provide a new toilet for the Craft room.


Mind Body and Spirit becomes Branching Out, an umbrella body mainly for activities for older people


New Slogan: Greener – Safer – Smarter – financial appeal to help funding


New building development goals and three new part time staff, Centre manager, Facilities Coordinator and Centre Administrator to help achieve them. New boiler.


Safety work on fire equipment, gas, electricity; work to improve the appearance of the centre and communication with the community


Safety work on fire equipment, gas, electricity; work to improve the appearance of the centre and communication with the community


Covid pandemic occurs, during which time the activities are supported by the Centre Team to move online.


The Centre reopens its doors with Covid restrictions in place and slowly begins to build back its numbers


On the 7th October 2022, Telegraph Hill Centre Celebrates its 50th Anniversary with a party to recognise those who have made Telegraph Hill Centre what it is today.

Read more about our history in detail or view our FAQs.