St George’s Garrison Church, Woolwich
St George’s Garrison Church, Woolwich, was built between 1862 and 1863 as the chapel for the Royal Regiment of Artillery.
It was commissioned by Lord Herbert, the Secretary of State for War, and based on designs by T.H. Wyatt, who was also responsible for Wilton parish church, commissioned by Herbert’s relatives, the Pembrokes.
Both churches are striking for their Italianate style and elaborate internal decoration.
In 1944 St George’s was wrecked by a V1 flying bomb. The mosaic panels in the east end, probably created in Venice in the workshop of Antonio Salvati, survived.
HLF project: canopy roof & mosaics conserved
The church remained roofless for decades, its fine decorative features deteriorating from exposure to pollution and weather. Historic England (formerly English Heritage) identified it as ‘at–risk’ in 2000.
Following the completion in May 2015 of a project developed and co-ordinated by the Heritage of London Trust Operations, the east end now sits under a canopy roof to prevent further decay, and the most vulnerable mosaics have been conserved. A WC and kitchen unit have been installed to allow it to function as a venue for the local Woolwich communities. The work was funded by a HLF grant with contributions from a number of grant-giving trusts and individuals.
The Woolwich Garrison Church Trust was set up in 2016 to take on the management of the site and run a series of public events for the local Woolwich communities, promoting the history of the site and the Royal Artillery through resources for schools. The site is open every Sunday. For more information go to the project website funded by the HLF grant: www.stgeorgeswoolwich.org
Conservation works: phase II
The Phase II works have stabilised the fabric of St George’s, made all areas accessible to the public and will enable the site to be removed from the Heritage at Risk Register.
Works commenced on-site in January 2018, Phase 2a, which primarily covered works to the West End, was completed on time and under-budget by April that year. Phase 2b, which covered works everywhere else, was considerably more complicated and demanding, though we’ve managed to come in on budget, completion has been a little later than initially anticipated and was reached in April 2019.
Our deepest thanks are extended to all of our project funders, whose generous support has enabled the future of St George’s to be secured and will enable the site to grow as an important heritage site and community space in the busy area of Woolwich.
Our thanks must also be given to our excellent project team whose patience and dedication to this complex phase of works has seen us safely through to completion and also to the team at Historic England who have provided ongoing support and advice throughout.