Parish memories

A Roman Catholic chapel was first opened in Hampton Wick in 1882, although the present Church of the Sacred Heart was not opened until 1893. Under Fr Philip Foley, the church raised enough funds to expand and in 1933 the old front of the church was pulled down and the new presbytery was built.

The church survived local bombing during the Second World War, but the threat of “doodlebug” flying bombs meant that about a third of the parish was evacuated to the countryside. Older parishioners remember Eisenhower’s GI’s who were billetted round the corner in Bushy Park.  Some of the young ladies of the parish were not overly sad to remain in Teddington.

After the war, the parish resumed its activities and the church was redecorated throughout in 1957. A visit by Cardinal John Heenan in 1965 was heralded as a great historical event, as was a major conversion at the church in 1968 when the heating system changed from coal to gas.

Mind you it took the gas board so long that there was no heating in the church over a white christmas and Mass was said in complete darkness. This comes as no surprise. The heating system still runs on faith alone.

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In more recent years, under Father John Deehan, major fundraising by parishioners and the sale of the Parish Hall in nearby Fairfax Road led to the building of the community rooms in 2006, which are now the centre of Parish social life.

In 2009, the interior of the church was completely refurbished to the bright and uplifting space you see now. The parquet floor was restored to a shine and the kneelers re-upholstered. All thanks to Fr Reg Dunkling’s good taste, two parishioners whose upholstery skills knew no limits, a couple of huge cherry pickers and a brilliant team of painters who didn’t suffer from vertigo.

If you have any memories of Sacred Heart you would like to share with us, please fill in the public comment box below.Read here what Brenda Clement and Pat Ellis remember.

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9 thoughts on “Parish memories

  1. What a lovely website. The Sacred Heart parish is a very special place for me as I went to the convent school which existed until 1961 and later on I was received into the catholic church at the church. I loved the sisters and dear Fr Moore. My faith was really nurtured in the parish. God bless you all.

  2. I attended Holy Mass here in 1978 when I arrived to nurse in the Normansfield, opposite.
    I always found it an attractive church and my introduction to Catholic life in London.
    35 years later and eight parishes on I remember this chapel fondly.

  3. I was baptised at The Sacred Heart in 1946, when we were living nearby at Conifers Close. We moved closer to St James, Twickenham, when I was just three, but I remember that my mother always referred to The Sacred Heart as “Fr. Moore’s”. St. James was “Fr. Gordon’s”.

    • Baptisms still happening on many sundays Christopher, and yes, still in the heavily daunting white marble font (but with warmer water now). St James Twickenham is also a beautiful church and a lively parish; both churches would be more familiar now as “Fr Ulick’s” St. James and “Fr Reg’s” , Sacred Heart. Thanks for posting to us

  4. My parents were married here in April 1954 and celebrate their diamond wedding next week. My grandmother lived in Station Road, Teddington and I remember, as a child, when we were visiting her from Scotland going to mass at Sacred Heart when Father Moore was the Parish Priest.

    • Special memories. Congratulations to your Parents Nigel, may they be very very blessed in their 60th year of marriage. Thoughts and prayers with you and with them from all of us at the church where they tied the knot. We hope to welcome you again to the parish, if you are still in the habit of visiting from Scotland.

      • Sadly my Father died on Saturday (27th June) aged 87 of pancreatic cancer but he had a strong catholic faith up to the end. May he Rest in Peace.

  5. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. My Father was Herbert Wunsch. My Mother, Elma, has now moved into a home in Worcestershire near my sister as she has Alzheimer’s. I still have fond memories of Sacred Heart, Teddington and of Father Moore.

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