|The church of St Barnabas and the rectory, from|
E.J. Beck's Memorial to Serve for a History of the
Parish of St. Mary, Rotherhithe, 1907
|Sir William Maynard Gomm, 1873-4|
National Portrait Gallery
The procession started from the mother church [St Mary's] after a short service. The clergy and choir walked down the Lower Road preceded by a guard of honour of the Rotherhithe Volunteers with their band playing, and their honorary colonel, Sir Wm. Gomm, brought up the rear. The patrons of the benefice were represented by several Fellows of Clare and by the Clare boat flag borne aloft by the captain of the college boat club. The stone was well and truly laid by Sir Wm. Gomm. [Beck 1907, p.67]
|From the Illustrated London News|
The Illustrated London News of 6th January 1872 celebrated the opening of St Barnabas in typically matter-of-fact tones (with thanks to Nick on the Bermondseyboy.net site for posting it):
This new church situated in Plough-road has been built to supply the spiritual needs of a very poor district which has sprung up within the last ten or fifteen year in that portion of the parish of St Mary, Rotherhithe, boarding on Deptford. The district is inhabited chiefly by the workmen employed in the timer docks, wharves, saw-mills and factories of the neighbourhood.
|The former location of the church of|
St Barnabas (courtesy Google Maps)
The beautiful east window was eventually filled with painted glass, to Mr Russell's great joy. He would sit in the church and contemplate the noble forms of the Saviour surrounded by His saints, and his face would beam with reverent emotion"
The parish of St Barnabas was constituted in 1873. Reverend Russell oversaw the construction of the Gomm Schools of 1874. The foundation stone for the schools was laid on 28th September 1872. The land on which the school was to be built was originally provided by Sir William Gomm, but this was subjected to a compulsory purchase order by the East London Railway. Instead, the land used was granted by the Surrey Commercial Dock Company at a very low rate. It cost £2600.00, £2000.00 of which was raised by subscription, including a £1000.00 donation by Sir William Gomm. When completed it too was in a Gothic revival style, designed by Mr G. Legg, and had capacity for 400 children. I have been unable to find any photographs of the school buildings.
Later, the plan to provide a vicarage was fulfilled, and this was occupied by Reverend Russell with his mother. The vicarage is shown at the right of the photograph on the top of this post. Reverend Russell stayed with the church to the end of his life in 1901, and was closely involved during his life with the running of the Gomm Schools, where he taught religious studies, French and Latin.