Alternative Domes (4)

I honestly don’t know what this is/these are. I’m guessing the framework for some kind of gazebo, but in truth your guess is as good as mine.

It’s in the back yard of the rather ornate building between Mauritius and Azof Roads, which the eagle-eyed Julian Watson informs me is Rothbury Mission Hall. Darryl Spurgeon describes it as “An extraordinary building of 1893 with a quite fantastic roofline of cupola, thin spirelets and dormers,” and I guess that just about sums it up.

Pevsner has nothing to say about the place, but Julian tells me that “according to LAJ Baker in his ‘Churches in the Hundred of Blackheath’ it was built as a Baptist church and was bought by the Congregationalists in the 1890’s.”

By the time Life and Labour of the People of London 1890-1900 was written, the final volume of which I found in the “everything £1″ box of a secondhand bookshop (you do always check those, don’t you…) it had become that Congregational mission.

Charles Booth describes it there as having “a pauperising influence and not effective from the religious standpoint; the Sunday school the principal piece of work, eight hundred children in average attendance; a good deal of money spent on social work.”

I can’t remember what it is now, but a bell is ringing in my mind that it’s a children’s nursery or play club or similar – which seems rather fitting. Must get some more pics of the place.


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