The St. John’s Society

Chair Date
Ray Pennell 1998 – 2003
Robert Whimperley-Dixon 2003 – 2013
Roger Lewis 2013 – 2019
Litsa Breingan 2019 –

Local History

Brookmill Park and the Deptford Pink Wildflower

Brookmill Park and the Deptford Pink Wildflower

Originally posted on Friends of Brookmill Park Facebook on 9 May at 09:06. The Deptford Pink is a very rare native wild flower. It can only be found in a few places (perhaps about 20) in England and Wales.  It is little known except by the conservation botanists who...

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Thankfull Sturdee (1852 – 1934)

Thankfull Sturdee (1852 – 1934)

Born in 1852 at 209 Evelyn Street; his father was a tailor, then a stationer.  The family had a long connection with Deptford.  Thankfull Sturdee married Catherine Sarah Bland in 1883 when he was living at 27 Albyn Road, St. John's, London SE8. The 1901 Census noted:...

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The woman the people of Deptford called OUR Queen

The woman the people of Deptford called OUR Queen

Local Deptford resident Kath Duncan (1888-1954) lived in Deptford most of her life at 19 Lind Street, St John’s, 1948-1950. Local author, historian, playwright, activist Ray Barron-Woolford, who also lives in St Johns, has just published on the back of his highly...

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St. John’s: Did You Know?

St. John’s: Did You Know?

Did you know that the former Deptford Power Station is regarded as the world's first centralised power station.  Since the sixteenth century, Deptford had provisioned all vessels associated with pioneering voyages. Sir Francis Drake departed from its banks in the...

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Before the growth and expansion of London

Before the growth and expansion of London

Until the industrialisation of Britain that led to the rapid sprawl of London over the first half and middle of the Nineteenth century, south-east London was a series of market towns and villages each with an economy focussed on servicing what were then the two...

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St John’s Society Timeline

The beginning….

Two local mothers, campaign to stop the small lake in Brookmill Park from being filled in and lost forever (Sarah and Litsa). This is covered by the media and receives lots of local interest

St John’s Society Established

  • St John’s Society Established as a body to campaign for locals
  • Campaign for ‘Plane Noise’ reduction (with BrocSoc)
  • Article 4 Direction applied to the area


  • Campaign to improve double yellow lines’ signage in St John’s
  • Request for ‘free’ papers to be delivered


  • Broadway Fields – working with Deptford Discovery Team for its new use
  • Children’s Playground in Brookmill Park, campaign to have it moved to its current location
  • Railtrack lobbied to reduce night time antisocial noise whilst doing essential maintenance


  • Maintenance of the fountain in Brookmill Park to get it working again
  • Maintenance of the fountain in Brookmill Park to get it working again• Deptford Challenge Trust Grant applied for
  • Reinstatement of Victorian Canopy at St John’s Station
  • St John’s Society man a table at Hilly Field’s Fayre


  • Campaign SE London Against Heathrow Expansion (with BrocSoc)
  • Traffic calming measures for St John’s
  • Seager Buildings – an attempt to stop it getting higher


  • ‘Party in the Park’ 14/9/03 sponsored by Deptford Challenge Trust and local businesses
  • The bridge at St John’s Station painted by locals to get rid of graffiti


  • ‘Picnic in the Park’ 12/9/04
  • ‘Save Our Trees’ campaign (4 trees replaced in Albyn Road)
  • Recycling boxes to all households and recycling points established (one of the first areas in Lewisham to get these)
  • Fireworks at St John’s Church promoted
  • Thames 21 River Clean Ups established
  • Talks on rivers (Thames 21), crime prevention and residents’ parking


  • Supporting 150th Year Celebrations at St John’s Church
  • Despite campaign to save historic water pumping station and former water managers offices (built 1862) this was bulldozed to make way for the Stephen Lawrence Centre


  • Stephen Lawrence Centre opened
  • Seager site applies to increase height. SJS are joined by BAG (Brookmill Action Group) to lobby against increase in height
  • Solar Powered Bollards are introduced to Brookmill Road
  • St John’s Consort (local musicians) give concert in the church in aid of the area
  • Ashmead School demolished for new school to be built


  • Support establishment of ‘Friends of Deptford Creek’
  • Broadway Fields open to public with new park
  • Support opening of new Ashmead School (27/3/09)


  • Society lobbied for extra trains and were granted the 7.01am from SouthEasternRailways


  • Roll of Honour restored in St John’s Church (paid for by the Society)
  • Two trees planted outside of Brookmill Pub on island to commemorate those who died WW1 & 2 (paid for by the Society)


  • Council lobbied to repave Admiral St and Strickland St


  • Lobbied for Heritage light in St John’s Garden (behind church)
  • Website given funding/grant by Brockley Assembly
  • Noticeboard at station (funded by Brockley Assembly)
  • New sign for the Station


  • Chair worked with BrocSoc on campaigns and issues of joint interest eg Street Trees
  • CPZ now live
  • Planning: Ashmead School, Aladdin’s Cave, Bakerloo Line discussed
  • Facebook page for Society introduced


  • Commemoration Event 11/11/18 at the two planted trees on island (outside Brookmill Pub). Local residents and children from schools invited.
  • Bridge re-painted
  • Fingerpost sign (Friendly St/Albyn Rd) fixed


  • Greening Fund applied for St John’s Garden (behind church)
  • Planning: EV charging points chased
  • Twitter for SJS introduced. Noticeboard fixed and is used again for promoting SJS


  • Both FB and Twitter has been really important for communicating to locals during the Pandemic
  • Mailing List updated
  • Constitution updated
  • Mural completed on railway bridge, funding secured by St. John’s Society
  • Front Garden Sale with Brockley and Ladywell Societies
  • Five new benches and bins installed in the renamed ‘St. John’s Garden’.  Funding secured by St John’s Society through the Greening Fund.
  • Chair Litsa Breingan opened the new ‘Kath’s Place’ community shop


  • 2nd rail bridge mural painted, funded by Network Rail
  • ‘Lighting in Streets’ campaign launched
  • Launch of monthly litter picking over the summer months
  • Deptford X events held in St. John’s
  • Steering Group for St John’s Station set up – Chaired by Vicky Foxcroft MP
  • Inaugural Christmas Advent Window trail held involving 15 households


  • Joint NCIL application (St John’s Church and SJS) succeeds
  • Chair invited to speak at unveiling of mural at Kath’s Place (Friendly St/Albyn Rd)
  • Chair was Finalist in Lewisham Mayor’s Awards for Voluntary Contributions
  • Second Greening Fund Application successful for improvements in St John’s Garden
  • Street party on Cliff Terrace
  • Crowdfunding campaign for three street trees
  • Planning Group devise a simple ‘check list’ for responding to planning applications in the area
  • ‘Green Conversations’ series of talks at the Brookmill Pub
  • SJS join ‘London Forum of Amenity Societies’
  • Campaign launched to retain frequent train service at St John’s alongside local councillors and MP
  • Christmas Advent Calendar Windows in second year running


  • Funding for street trees acquired from SELCHP
  • Planters funded by Greening Fund installed in St John’s Garden
  • Bulb planting days (with Friends of Friendly Gardens)
  • The Battle of Lewisham Concert (with St John’s Church Organ Fund) – £600 raised
  • Three trees planted in St John’s (crowdfunded in 2022)
  • Meetings with Glendale and LB re play equipment in Friendly Gardens
  • Meetings with Thames Water regarding extension of their work schedule in Friendly Gardens, compensation requested (reseeding, replanting, water fountains, etc)
  • 200 donated bulbs planted in St John’s Garden
  • Coronation of King celebrated with local street parties
  • Picnic in the Park (with Friends of Friendly Gardens)
  • Play Equipment in Friendly Gardens is installed (Greening Fund)
  • 5 free house surveys to local residents from SELCE (funded by Mayor’s London Community Energy Fund)
  • Front Garden Sale in third year (collaboration with Brockley Society and Ladywell Society)
  • Second series of Green Conversations in Brookmill pub
  • Rain Garden installed and planted (Friendly St/Thornville St) – Funded by Thames Water and London Borough of Lewisham
  • Christmas Advent Window Trail in third year
  • Reverse Advent Calendar Boxes organised for donation to St John’s Church

Please note that the Society is run by volunteers. 🙂