The History of St. Etheldreda with St. Clement, Fulham

Above: St. Etheldreda loses it's roof, 1940

St. Ethledreda

THE REVD. CYRIL KENNETH ALFRED KEMP

1938 - 1945: The Second World War and Incendiary Bomb

Fr Kemp had scarcely been in office a year when the Second World War broke out. The parish magazine records some of the effects of the evacuation. The hall was requisitioned as for A.R.P. purposes, and the crypt used as a shelter. Another shelter was built on the patch. September 1940 saw the beginning of a prolonged bombing offensive on London, from which Fulham did not escape. A shelter on Fulham Recreation Ground received a direct hit, blasting the windows of St Clement’s. On the night of September 24/25th incendiary bombs landed on the roof of St Etheldreda's.  With the amount of bombing that night the church was a low priority, and most of the roof was destroyed, rendering the building unsafe. The vaulting protected the contents, and these were cleared by volunteers in the week following the damage. The pews, which had come from the Annunciation, Marble Arch in 1909 went in 1941 to the new church of St Peter's, Grange Park, in North London. Other things not required for daily worship, which continued in the Vicarage, were transferred to the diocesan store set up for goods from blitzed churches. Some of the goods survived and are still in use today: notably the high altar crucifix which was remounted as a processional cross; the registers and plate; the gospel lights presented by the servers in 1900; the children's altar, and some of the candlesticks. There were united services for St Etheldreda’s and  St Peter's, which had been bombed the following night, at St Clement’s on the Sunday after the bombing and at St. John's, Walham Green for the Midnight Mass at Christmas. Sunday services moved first to Finlay Street School, then to the cemetery chapel and then to St Clement's, which rearranged the times of its services.

Above: Interior damage caused by the bomb.

[More on bombing in the parish and Fulham generally]

In 1941, Fr Kemp was seconded for work elsewhere, the parish being placed under the pastoral care of Fr Young of St Clement's. The Bishop directed the Churchwardens and PCC to remain in office until further order. The PCC were not to meet again until 1945, when the Diocesan Reorganisation Committee put forward a proposal to divide the parish between its neighbours and build a smaller church in Colehill Lane. The PCC rejected this, and asked for a mission priest to build up the parish again. In the summer of 1945, Fr Kemp became Rector of Bridgnorth. He served in the diocese of Hereford until he retired in 1961. He moved to Oxford and then to Weymouth where he died in the late 1980’s.

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