A Roman Catholic chapel was first opened in Hampton Wick in 1882, although the present Church of the Sacred Heart was not opened until 1893. Under Fr Philip Foley, the church raised enough funds to expand and in 1933 the old front of the church was pulled down and the new presbytery was built.
The church survived local bombing during the Second World War, but the threat of “doodlebug” flying bombs meant that about a third of the parish was evacuated to the countryside. Older parishioners remember Eisenhower’s GI’s who were billetted round the corner in Bushy Park. Some of the young ladies of the parish were not overly sad to remain in Teddington.
After the war, the parish resumed its activities and the church was redecorated throughout in 1957. A visit by Cardinal John Heenan in 1965 was heralded as a great historical event, as was a major conversion at the church in 1968 when the heating system changed from coal to gas.
Mind you it took the gas board so long that there was no heating in the church over a white christmas and Mass was said in complete darkness. This comes as no surprise. The heating system still runs on faith alone.
In more recent years, under Father John Deehan, major fundraising by parishioners and the sale of the Parish Hall in nearby Fairfax Road led to the building of the community rooms in 2006, which are now the centre of Parish social life.
In 2009, the interior of the church was completely refurbished to the bright and uplifting space you see now. The parquet floor was restored to a shine and the kneelers re-upholstered. All thanks to Fr Reg Dunkling’s good taste, two parishioners whose upholstery skills knew no limits, a couple of huge cherry pickers and a brilliant team of painters who didn’t suffer from vertigo.