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St John's Waterloo, London

4.6
#150 of 266 in Historic Sites in London
St John's Church, Waterloo, is an Anglican Greek Revival church in South London, built in 1822–24 to the designs of Francis Octavius Bedford. It is dedicated to St John the Evangelist, and with St Andrew's, Short Street, forms a united benefice.
The church is located in Waterloo, opposite the London IMAX, close to Waterloo station and the Waterloo campus of King's College London. In 1818, when the country was settling down into a period of peace after the Napoleonic Wars and the population was beginning to expand rapidly, Parliament decided to allocate a sum not exceeding a million pounds for the building of additional churches in populous parishes and “more particularly in the Metropolis and its Vicinity.” Of this sum, the Commissioners for Building New Churches appropriated £64,000 in 1822 for the needs of the parish of Lambeth. It was decided that a new church should be built on the Waterloo Bridge approach, with a piece of ground on the east side of the road to be purchased from the Archbishop of Canterbury and his lessee and the sub-lessee, Gilbert East and a man named Anderson.
The Church of St John was built to the designs of the architect Francis Octavius Bedford in 1824. Bedford designed three other churches for the Commissioners, St George’s, Camberwell, St Luke, West Norwood and Holy Trinity, Newington. They were all built in the same Greek style inspired by Bedford’s background as a well-respected Greek scholar and antiquarian. Bedford’s churches were fiercely criticised by contemporary critics at a time when the tide was turning away from the Greek revival towards Gothic. St John’s however gained more critical appreciation mainly because of its fine spire which used classical detail to build up a more traditional English parish church shape.
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
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  • An impressive church of the Waterloo era open doors to visit and set on beautifully peaceful grounds.  more »
  • This is a great church and the well-maintained gardens are open to the public, which is lovely in the summer. The church is open throughout the week and there are public church services. It is regular...  more »
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