St John's Development Project



Reigniting the Festival Church


Join the ReIGNITE Banquet on October 4th!

In 2017, St John’s received approval for 70% of its proposed renovation work, and now plans to renovate the west end of the church and a large part of its crypt, including the historic (but currently derelict) Long Room downstairs.


The bold renovation, which will feature glass walls and striking but sensitive remodelling, will be designed by leading British architect Eric Parry.


The work, slated to begin in 2020, will include:


  • A new foyer space with new entry and reception.
  • Disabled access into crypt
  • New staircase into crypt
  • Renovation and renewal of derelict vaults and entrance rooms of crypt, with new toilets, kitchen and community space for heritage and arts training.


In preparation for the renovation, damp-proofing of the crypt by installing a membrane below the church’s forecourt took place in July 2018.

The newly renovated church will be a new home for the Bridge at Waterloo, and an improved home for our partners, including Southbank Sinfonia


Reigniting the Festival Church

We are also developing proposals for the nave of the church which will hugely improve the space, making it lighter and brighter for worship, improving its acoustics as a performance space and transforming the chapel to offer a place for prayer and meditation throughout the week.  It will create a focus for the telling of Waterloo’s story, working in partnership with many organisations such as the Museum of Homelessness, Coin  Street Community Builders and the University of Westminster.



Target: £3.5 million to remake London’s Festival Church

St John’s Waterloo is currently fundraising to redevelop its church and crypt. We are determined to upgrade our building, and make it more welcoming and suited to the needs of the community.


St John’s has raised nearly £2 million of its £3.5 million target so far.

Funders so far:

  • Big Lottery Fund - Reaching Communities
  • Allchurches Trust
  • The Swire Charitable Trust
  • Lambeth Borough Council
  • The City Bridge Trust
  • Bernard Sunley
  • The Rayne Foundation
  • And many members of the congregation of St John’s and other individuals.

Your company, or you as an individual, can become a funder too. If you would like to be part of this project, contact our Development Manager at:


Creating a home for The Bridge at Waterloo


The Bridge at Waterloo (TBAW) is St John’s community engagement hub, from where we run our popular annual Bridge to Employment courses and  Digital Futures coding and tech course , as well as our gardening partnership with Roots & Shoots.


Once the crypt renovation is complete, The Bridge at Waterloo will have its base here. Read more about St John's community engagement activities.



In the Crypt: Southbank Sinfonia, Futures Theatre and Bankside Keys.





The Crypt at St John’s is home to Southbank Sinfonia, the internationally renowned springboard for young classical musicians. The orchestra has its offices here, and rehearses and performs concerts throughout the year in the church.


The Southbank Sinfonia’s free, rush-hour concerts (Thursdays, 6pm) have become a hugely popular local fixture in Waterloo, and its more formal performances draw audiences from all over the UK. The orchestra’s June annual gala concert (part of the Waterloo Festival) is one of the highlights of London’s classical calendar.



Futures Theatre, a production company that puts women at the centre, has been based in the Crypt of St John’s for many years. Renowned for championing new female playwrights and performers, Futures recently made headlines at 2017’s Edinburgh Festival with “Offside”, a play celebrating women in football.


Bankside Keys is a music studio in the crypt of St John's Waterloo, run by Walter Fabeck. This is a teaching studio for piano, music theory and composition, and is open to students of all ages and abilities.




St John’s Waterloo is a member of Eco-Church and Faith for the Climate Network and hosts regular Interfaith conferences on tackling climate change in churches, mosques and synagogues. We are also actively involved in Inclusive Church, and are currently campaigning for marriage equality and LGBTI rights in the Church of England.


We support those without a home through the winter months, with our ROBES night shelter on Monday nights. And our Waterloo FoodBank offers food parcels to those who need it every Wednesday afternoon.


St Johns’ Churchyard is the winner of a Green Flag the Silver Eco-Church Award and the London in Bloom Silver Award. Our work has featured on ES London Live and South London Press. We  partnered with Roots & Shoots to provide work for Horticulture and Floristry students, and Lambeth Scouts, Beavers and Clubs earn badges by working on our garden too.



Every June, St John's runs the Waterloo Festival, a celebration of art, music and ideas.

The Festival is emerging as a showcase for fresh and emerging talent from all over world. Its programme regularly features performances by the Southbank Sinfonia, and a host of  international performers, artists and musicians. New writing, poetry and theatre are regular features. Curated by Euchar Gravina, Waterloo Festival 2019 runs 5 -23 June 2019.




St John’s is a landmark Grade II* listed 19th-century building in the heart of Waterloo. It was designed in 1823 (in the Greek Revival style) by Francis Bedford and restored after World War II by the church architect Thomas Ford. The church re-opened in time for the 1951 Festival of Britain, when it was rededicated as the “Festival of Britain Church”.  It features an important mural by the German-born artist Hans Feibusch (1898-1998) above the altar.


Today, as well as serving a broad congregation, St John’s hosts the popular Waterloo Festival every June.


Canon Giles Goddard, vicar of St John’s Waterloo:

“Our vision is to become a beacon church for London. Working with the architect Eric Parry has encouraged us set our sights high, and this exciting renovation will allow us to better serve London and the busy, fast-changing community of Waterloo.”







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