Church of the Good Shepherd

Affectionately known as the ‘tin hut’
1936 – 1967

The Church of the Good shepherd was opened by the Bishop of Lewes on 8th November 1936 after it had been donated by the Vicar of the Good Shepherd, Brighton.

Photograph below (circa 1940-1950) shows the church with its original corrugated iron cladding and before the installation of the bell.

The Church of the Good shepherd was opened by the Bishop of Lewes on 8th November 1936 after it had been donated by the Vicar of the Good Shepherd, Brighton.

The plot of land for the church was purchased for £100.00 in 1935-36 by Father Holmes who was vicar of St. Nicolas.

The church was originally a cook house and mess room at the Military Camp at Shoreham Airport and had become surplus after the Great War.  It was dismantled and re-erected as a temporary building in Dyke Road, as the Church of the Good Shepherd.  Work started in 1935-36 building a permanent Church of the Good Shepherd in Dyke Road, Brighton on the site where the tin hut was standing.

Father Holmes heard that the ‘tin hut’ was to be dumped and he offered to remove it from Dyke Road to Mile Oak. Father Holmes gave the site and Brighton Good Shepherd PCC gave the building.

The church came complete with Vestments, Alter Frontals and a Great War Chaplin’s Chalice. The church was originally filled with 16 rather uncomfortable pews.  When All Saints Church in Brighton closed in the late 1950’s 16 better quality and more comfortable pews from there were scrounged and adapted to fit the ‘tin hut’.

When it was being erected in Mile Oak it blew down in a gale and work had to recommence.

Many of you will remember the Beetle Drives, Whist Drives, Dances, Socials etc. After the war. Also Cubs, Scouts, Brownies and Girl Guides all held in the church hall.

Another memory which may be best forgotten were the delightful toilets and store in the garden at the rear of the church.

As mentioned on the first page when Mile Oak became a Parish in it’s own right, the Parish boundary was extended to a line running across Valley Road, at the Crossways, to Foredown in one direction and to the land belonging to the old L.C.C. School in the other direction. This was so that the Parish of St. Nicolas was not too large. This did not move the boundary of Mile Oak itself only the Parish boundary.

First communion service in progress. The back of the priest in charge looks very much like Father Gill and the server was John Cother.
Party in progress in the church hall. Due to age the quality of this picture is poor.

Restoration. Approximately 1951 – 54

The corrugated iron roof and walls finally deteriorated (rusted) with age and about 1951 volunteers helped to re-roof the ‘Tin Hut’.  About two years later more volunteers helped to re-clad the walls in 1/4” waterproof hardboard and once completed the ladies helped to carry out the decorations. On each occasion as the works progressed enthusiasm diminished and the volunteers began to reduce in number – it would appear that wives decreed that the men were spending too much time at the church when they could be carrying out similar works at home or tending their allotment.

Past and Present

Tin Hut – 1936 – 1967. New Church – 1967 –
Another view of the temporary church known as the ‘tin hut’ in its heyday. It is shown still clad in corrugated iron. Note the bell is installed.

The new church was dedicated by the Bishop of Chichester on Saturday 28th October 1967.

The cost was £25000 of which £23000 came in the form of a grant from Sussex Churches Campaign. The rest was loaned interest free.

The bell from the ‘tin hut’ was reused in the new church.