Mysterious painting

(c) Elwin J. Hawthorn; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
UPDATE: See the bottom of this post – the mystery appears to be solved.
Alan writes:

I am trying to trace the location of a painting of “Church near Blackheath“, painted by Elwin Hawthorne and I was wondering if you might be able to help identify the location? His notes for the picture say:- “Vanbrugh Park from the Standard public house”. Looking at Streetview, I wonder whether there was a church on the site of what is now Blackheath High School, Senior School? Possibly the church was destroyed during the war.

Below is where I think he’s referring to on Google Street View, but the outline of the building looks different to me. Any ideas?

Alan has been sent a photograph of the scene by the artist’s son (also called Elwin Hawthorne). It is his Father’s photograph of the scene from which he painted his picture, hence the “squaring up” lines across the image.

Photo Church near Blackheath

Elwin was one of a group of artists known as the East London Group – see Alan’s website here.

Alan writes:

With a bit of help from a “local”, Nick Sack, I think we may have identified the site of the church on Vanbrugh Park; it looks as if it is on the site of what is now the Blackheath Senior School which used to be the Church Army Chapel. I have attached two screenshots from Streetview which show the road outside the School and, in that image, you can just make out the presence of a redbrick house behind the trees on the right; in the other shot, you will see a shot of the building frontage which is extremely similar to that represented in the painting, although it now appears as if one half of what was most likely a double fronted building has disappeared, along with the church next door! It would be fascinating to find out a bit more about the history of the area; whether it was hit during the war and, if so, what effect did it have in the area? I think that what we need now is an identification of the actual church’s name and the history that goes with the area!

The streetview shots he mentions are the same as the location shown in the initial post above.


Filed under art, blackheath

7 responses to “Mysterious painting

  1. Philip Moore

    Yes, It was on the corner of Mycenae Rd. & Vanbrugh – but on the opposite corner to what I knew as the Church Army building. It was only demolished “a few years” ago (perhaps 20 or 30!) . It certainly was there when I walked past there on my way to the Roan School in the 1960’s.

  2. Julian Kingston

    It’s still there, it’s now the garishly painted Lee New Testament Church of God in Lee High Rd I think.

    • Neil Rh

      I sent a detailed identification of the painting but it (my comment) has failed to be added,. This happens quite often so I can only think I am persona non grata to the Buglers of Blackheath.

  3. Sarah

    As Philip Moore above says, this church was on the corner of Vanbrugh Park and Mycenae Road and was there until about 30 years. It was on the opposite corner to where Blackheath High School now stands. Now there is a small group of modern(ish) houses called St Andrews Mews so I’m guessing the church was called St Andrews.

  4. Bob Land

    Had a look on the internet , and found this old map . showing two churches in the area mentioned.
    Please use this link, to get to the map :

  5. Paul

    I used to live in the house next door to the church, (the house that is to the right of the church in the painting). I moved in to the house in the early 80’s and the church was partially demolished then. The houses in St Andrew’s Mews were built following the demolition of the site. The church was not on the site of what is now the high school.
    I am interested in Elwin’s painting, as living in Vanbrugh Park was a significant chapter in my life. Is a copy available?

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