St Thomas Aquinas Church, Ham facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsSt Thomas Aquinas Church, Ham
|Location||Ham Street, Ham, Richmond TW10 7HT|
|Former name(s)||St. Andrew's School (or just Ham School)|
|Number of spires||1|
|Materials||brick and slate|
|Episcopal area||South West Pastoral Area|
|Diocese||Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark|
St Thomas Aquinas Church, Ham is a Roman Catholic church on Ham Street on the western corner of Ham Common, Ham, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. The church is a former 19th-century school building, acquired in 1974 and converted for worship and community use.
There is also a mass in German on Sunday mornings to accommodate the local German-speaking population. (There is a German school nearby in Petersham.) A German priest is sent by the German-speaking parish of St. Boniface in Whitechapel, London to hold mass. The German-speaking congregation also meets with the Lutheran German-speaking congregation at St Andrew's Church, Ham for ecumenical services.
The building was constructed as Ham School in the late 1880s, replacing an earlier village school funded by the National Society. This early school accommodated boys in St Andrew's Church on the opposite side of Ham Common, and girls in the converted first floor of nearby almshouses. This failed to meet the new standards required by the Elementary Education Act 1870. Faced with the unpopular prospect of having a state controlled Board school imposed upon them, local ratepayers established a committee to construct a new school. Funds were raised from local charities, subscriptions and the National Society and the building opened in 1890 as St Andrew's School. Built with capacity for 100 boys, 101 infants and 101 girls, the school remained open until 1966, when it was replaced by the larger St Richard's with St Andrew's Primary School. The building was used for various community functions throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s.
From the Reformation until 1856 there was nowhere for Catholics to worship in Ham. Between 1856 and 1870 a small chapel, St Mary's, was established in the grounds of Beaufort House, to the north along Ham Street. In 1952 a small plot further north in Ham Street, where 201–7 now stand, was bought by Richard and Mary Cave and the Chapel of Ease of St Elizabeth's, Richmond, was constructed there. Intended as a temporary structure, it served until the former Ham School site was acquired in 1974. The northern part of the former school building became the church whilst the southern section became the church hall, still used by community groups. The single light stained glass window by Paul Quail, depicting "Heavenly Jerusalem", was added in 1990.
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