Re-ordering All Saints


November 2018 

In mid October we received the very welcome news that the Southwark Chancellor had approved our proposals to replace the “non native” pews in the north aisle with the blue upholstered chairs which are already the property of the church. The pews have now been removed and most of them have been sold to a church antiques company. The blue chairs look good in their new position and can of course be moved or removed as necessary to help with our worship. 

August 2018

The new screens, projector and camera were installed in All Saints in early August and were used for the first time at the 10am service on 26 August. The screens made a real difference at that service as the congregation were able to see a display of photos taken by church members illustrating various aspects of our worship of God, and for the first time those sitting in the north aisle had a complete view of what was taking place in the chancel. The screens provide a wonderful opportunity to develop our worship and to make the church a more relevant space. They will be in use at the 10am service on Sunday 9 September when 2 baptisms will be taking place.


We hope that there will be a positive outcome soon on the parallel proposal to replace the remaining north aisle pews with chairs. The Southwark Chancellor has asked for further advice from heritage organisations by the end of August before taking a decision on our faculty application.

June 2018


Some excellent news about one of our two faculty applications. Immediately following the end of the public notice period, formal diocesan approval has been given for the installation of screens at All Saints and we are now arranging with the contractor for the work to be carried out in a way which minimises any disruption. A decision is still awaited on the removal of the remaining north aisle pews.

Jan 2018 Update

Installing Screens and removing North Aisle pews

We are now consulting with the major church heritage organisations (English Heritage, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Victorian Society and the Church Buildings Council) about our proposals for installing screens and removing the remaining North Aisle pews. The next stage will be to consult the Southwark Diocesan Advisory Committee before submitting the formal application for a faculty from the Chancellor for the Diocese of Southwark. All being well this should take place in Spring 2018. The two Crib Services on Christmas Eve and the special children’s service on Thursday 14 December showed the benefits of having mobile TV monitors in church and also the practical difficulties associated with having fixed pews in the North Aisle as this limits the flexible space available for children’s events and also leads to problems accessing the lady Chapel and St Catherine’s Aisle areas for parents with buggies. These issues are being highlighted in our faculty application consultation.

June 2017 STOP PRESS Reordering

The DCC meeting on 13 June 2017 decided to press ahead and seek diocesan approval as quickly as possible for installing screens in All Saints and replacing the north aisle pews with chairs. These 2 schemes are relatively uncontroversial, can be carried out easily and inexpensively and will deliver significant benefits. In parallel there is to be a review of the whole church estate including the halls and how it can best support our wider mission. The results of this should put us in a stronger position to secure diocesan support for removing the remaining pews and the other reordering proposals.

Reordering The Southwark Diocesan Advisory Committee have now responded to our consultation on the reordering proposals. They have made various suggestions and have proposed setting up a sub group (including the Archdeacon of Croydon) to collaborate with us on refining our proposals and understanding how they assist in developing the vision for All Saints. This process will inevitably take some time and means that all being well the building work to transform the interior of the church will start in 2018 rather than 2017 as originally forecast.

Latest News June 2016

Initial external consultation is now underway on the proposals for reordering the interior of All Saints. Comments have been invited from a range of organisations including the Church Buildings Council, the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings, Historic England, the Victorian Society and the London Borough of Croydon. A representative from Historic England has already visited All Saints and members of the Church Buildings Council and the Southwark Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) will be visiting the church on 4 July. When all those who wish to comment have done so, the All Saints DCC will need to consider whether any changes need to be made before the proposals are put formally to the DAC (which is likely to be in the early autumn).  

At its meeting on 13 June the DCC took two further decisions on the reordering project. The first was the choice of chair to replace the pews.  The Theo chair is a modern, high quality wooden frame chair which can be linked, moved and stacked easily.  It is already in use in historic ecclesiastical buildings such as Norwich Cathedral and All Souls Langham Place in London. Further details about the chair can be found at 

The colour of the seat cushion will match the existing St Catherine’s chairs as closely as possible.  The church architect is being consulted about whether changes can be made to the armchair version so that it is fully usable by those who need extra support getting into and out of seats. The Theo chair was on display in All Saints on Sundays 19 and 26 June. 


The DCC also decided that the entirety of the re-ordering should be funded from the Herbert legacy. While this means that there will be no general fundraising, it is does not rule out the possibility of donations for specific reordering items (such as the proposed new font and lectern). Grants may also be sought for eligible items such as the new disabled toilet and access. 


April 2016

At its meeting on 19 April the District Church Council took the decision to apply for Southwark Diocese approval (known as a faculty) to make various changes to the interior of All Saints. Recognising the strong positive views expressed at the All Saints AGM on 20 March and in the preceding consultation exercise, the DCC decided that the faculty application should cover all aspects of the reordering proposals, though whether every part of the scheme goes ahead will depend on the outcome of the fund raising programme (see below). 

The main features of the reordering proposals are 

  • Making the whole church fully accessible for disabled people by removing the remaining steps in the chancel and sanctuary area , installing step free access to the vestry area and replacing the existing vestry toilets with a new disabled toilet;
  • Creating much more flexible space in the church by replacing all the pews with high standard chairs and reflooring parts of the nave, and by removing the St Catherine’s aisle pillars;
  • Installing screens to improve speaker visibility and allow the use of visual aids;
  • Making the church a more welcoming place by replacing the existing font with a moveable wooden font and redecorating the whole interior of the church.

There are various things we now need to do before the faculty application goes forward. Several features need to be defined in more detail notably the choice of chair and font, and the type and location of the display screens. The Reordering Group will be making recommendations to the DCC on these. In parallel and in collaboration with the church architect Tim Gough, we shall be embarking on initial informal consultation with Southwark’s Diocesan Advisory Committee and other interested parties such as the local authority, Historic England, the Victorian Society and the Church Buildings Council.  

The total estimated cost of the reordering programme is £262,000.  Over half of this will be met by an allocation from Ann Herbert’s legacy. A fund raising team is being set up to plan how to raise the remaining money which will mostly need to come from congregational giving. If you have experience of major fund-raising and would like to join the team which first meets on 11 May please let Rev Jeremy Groombridge know as soon as possible.  

Once the faculty is granted we shall move as quickly as possible to carry out the building work. This will inevitably mean the church has to be closed for an extended period – probably around 6 months. The current estimate is that work will be carried out between March and September 2017. 

The overall purpose of the reordering project is for All Saints to become a place where we can worship God more creatively and effectively, and which will allow us to build stronger links with the local community, while preserving, and where possible enhancing, the beauty and heritage of our wonderful building.  It will give practical expression to the All Saints commitment to GROW - in discipleship, service and numbers.  

Please pray for God’s blessing on this exciting venture, and for its success. 

Richard Bird    Chairman All Saints Reordering Group