St Mary Magdalen Woolwich

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For the civil parish, see Woolwich (parish).

St Mary Magdalen Woolwich is an Anglican church dedicated to Mary Magdalen in Woolwich, sited at the extremity of a spur reaching northwards towards the Thames.


Rectors of Woolwich, 1182-1960
Interior view during Sunday worship

The original church was built some time before the 12th century (possibly even as early as the 9th century), though by the 18th century its Elizabethan spire had collapsed and the foundations were showing other signs of strain.

Thus a new church (the present one) was built near the medieval church's site in 1732 to 1739, with dedication occurring on May 9, 1740. The new church was part-funded by the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches and built by Matthew Spray (though the designer's name remains unknown).

The building was Grade B listed in 1954, which corresponds to Grade II and Grade II* in the modern scheme.[1] In the 1970s the church was merged into the three church Parish of Woolwich. From 1965 to 2001, the local Presbyterian church also met here.


The church is brick-built, with clay tiles (though it has Portland stone plinth cappings, copings, window surrounds and cornices).

The churchyard is now a public garden, Saint Mary's Garden. Some gravestones can still be seen at the northeastern entrance to the park at Woolwich Church Street. Nearby stands the tomb of bare-knuckle boxer Tom Cribb in the shape of a lion resting his paw on an urn. The belvedere in the park offers fine views of the river Thames and the Woolwich Ferry, although the view is threatened by several tall buildings going up in the area.


To its basic nave, galleried aisles and west-end tower have been added a chancel (1894, by J.O. Scott, with Bath stone buttress capping and band courses), a Lady Chapel (containing the tomb of Henry Maudslay, designed by himself), organ chamber and sanctuary, all in the 19th century. Also in this era, a rail-mounted moveable pulpit was installed, funded by a public subscription on Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. Thomas Ford shut off the aisles and galleries to make a cafe and offices in 1961, before adding new vestries in 1965 and converting the crypt into a Youth Club in 1967.


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Coordinates: 51°29′35″N 0°03′33″E / 51.4930°N 0.0592°E / 51.4930; 0.0592