St. Paul's, Deptford

St Paul's, Deptford is one of London's finest Baroque parish churches. It was designed by architect Thomas Archer and built between 1712 and 1730 in Deptford, which was then in Kent but is now part of South East London. It was one of the 50 churches that were to be built by the New Church Commissioners, although only 12 were ultimately constructed.


With rising urban growth in Deptford (mainly made up of literate, skilled workers tending to dissent from the established church), the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches decided to counter this by building a major new Church of England church in the area. To this end they appointed Thomas Archer, one of their commissioners (who also designed St John's Smith Square and Birmingham Cathedral) to design a church in Deptford. He began almost immediately, building it in his usual Roman Baroque style and completing the fabric and most of the decoration by 1720 (though work continued until its consecration in 1730).

Since 2004, the church has been home to St Paul's Sinfonia.


The church is built from Portland Stone, and, as with most of these churches, it is raised on a crypt that is mostly above ground, thus needing a flight of stairs to enter. The most unusual feature of the building is the circular tower with a steeple, around which is wrapped a semi-circular portico of four giant Tuscan columns. The body of the church is approximately square in plan, with two additional side entrances in the middle of the walls, each approached by a grand staircase. The east wall has a projecting apse.

The interior has two side aisles each separated by two giant Corinthian columns, which continue as attached columns on the other walls. There are side galleries supported by the giant columns, with an organ gallery above the entrance. The east window is in the form of a Venetian Window but following the curve of the apse. This is divided by small Tuscan columns.

Building Activity

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