Church building appeal opens
Fr Coles opened a subscription list in order to raise funds to build the new church. As the Woolwich community was generally poor, Fr Coles had to appeal to the wealthy Catholics in England. Among the donors was a famous Irish patriot, Daniel O’ Connell. The total receipts for 1841 were £237 5s 4d. Within the Woolwich community, the Fogarty and O’Dwyer families, who were related, were leading church benefactors at the time.
Government donates church site
The Honourable Master General, Sir H Vivian, and the Board of Ordnance (forerunner of the Ministry of Defence) “were graciously pleased to make over to the Catholics of Woolwich, a piece of freehold ground whereon to erect their new church”. The Board also gave an adjacent site to the Presbyterians, an indication that the increase in population around Woolwich affected several Christian denominations.
Press reports Pugin as designer
The Catholic paper, ‘The Orthodox Journal’ reports: “The erection of this sacred edifice will soon commence. The church will be worthy of its designer Mr. Pugin. The Catholic population at Woolwich numbers 3000 and the present chapel will not admit more than 400. On Sunday evening, the second of next month a meeting will be held at the ‘Duchess of Wellington’, Green’s End, and a collection made.”