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A C Martin



St. Olave’s in Mitcham took its dedication from the redundant church of St. Olave’s, Tooley Street, once sited at the southern end of the medieval London Bridge; that church took its name from Olaf, patron saint of Norway and once the saviour of London from the Danes.

The church building, consecrated in 1931, was never completed as its architect, Arthur Campbell Martin (1875-1963), intended: his proposed design incorporated a further bay at the west end of the nave, an Italianate bell tower and a Lady Chapel. The completed church would have seated about five hundred people.

The external aspect of St. Olave’s can seem a little daunting at first view, but the plainly decorated interior, executed in orthodox Byzantine style, with a large central dome over the crossing, is a surprisingly open and airy space. The method of building was essentially modern, with brick walls, but the roof and vaulting of reinforced concrete.

The eighteenth-century pulpit and the composite font came from the closed church of St. Olave in Southwark, as did the two bells and some church plate. The organ is thought to have come from a house in Essex – hence the coat of arms and motto on the case.

From the 1950s come the remarkable Stations of the Cross and the figure of Christ in Majesty on the East wall. Since then the interior has been reordered to accommodate a nave altar.

The South London Church Fund and Southwark Diocese Board of Finance is a company limited by guarantee (No. 236594).
Registered Office: Trinity House, 4 Chapel Court, Borough High Street, London SE1 1HW. Registered Charity: (No. 249678).

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