St Matthew’s, Westminster was built in 1849-1851 and completed a few years later. It was built in an area which Dickens described as the ‘Devil’s acre’. Housing conditions were very poor and the population of 29,000 was crammed into the parishes of St Matthew’s and St Stephen’s, Rochester Row.
Great Peter Street, where the church is situated, was named after the patron saint of Westminster Abbey. It is an ancient thoroughfare and was known simply as ‘Peter Street’ by the Roundheads during the Civil War.
This section illustrates some of the work which was necessary before the church was built and accounts of the laying of the foundation stone in 1849.