Mission House, 1910-40

In 1910 Dr. Vaughan, with the financial help he had obtained in America, bought a nearly new mansion, “Restormel” at 1a Brondesbury Park (the corner house with Christchurch Avenue), which he turned into the Missionaries’ base, to be known as Mission House.

Mission House 1910
Mission House 1910

Here volunteer priests from all over England were trained for work among Protestants. At its opening on 16th June 1910 the Tablet described it as “a large and commodious mansion with a garden” (one acre, in fact) “in that healthy quarter of London.” Among its features were a flagstaff from which the papal flag was flown and a chapel with several altars to accommodate the numerous resident and visiting priests; small boys from Willesden Green walked there in the mornings to help serve the numerous Masses.

Mission House won notoriety among Protestants and there were demonstrations at the gates against the “Italian Mission”.

From here a Chapel truck went out all over England to preach to isolated Catholics as well as non-Catholics; over the years the Missionaries established a series of new parishes, beginning with Royston and Swaffham.

In 1915 Mission House was turned into a hospital for the war wounded. The Catholic Missionary Society continued there after the war till after the parish had been handed over to the Diocese in 1933 — indeed until October 1940, when the building was devastated by a landmine. The garden wall is still there.

Move to next section – The Parish 1910 – 1933
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