St Saviour’s Church in Herne Hill Road was demolished in 1981 but a memorial tablet survives. It includes the name F LUCAS.
Frederick Lucas was born on 4 September 1879 at Brimington [sic] Road, Peckham. (The street has since disappeared in redevelopment.) Fred was the third of nine children. The 1911 Census shows Fred with his family at 45 Kemerton Road, Herne Hill, and working as an “engineer’s turner”. Fred, who had served in the Second Boer War and then as a police constable, seems to have rejoined the army in 1914, and with his skills and experience went into the Army Ordnance Corps.
Throughout the Victorian and Edwardian eras Herne Hill and Denmark Hill had many residents of German origin. They were mostly merchants and bankers, able to afford pleasant villas in what were then semi-rural surrounds. The outbreak of war saw the freedoms of people of German (and Austro-Hungarian) origin – there were some 40,000 in London – severely curtailed. The businesses of those whose commercial activities depended on trade with Germany disappeared overnight.
The principal role of the monthly parish magazine was, of course, to support the church’s religious mission, but the First World War brought inconveniences and calamities that the magazine could not ignore. As part of the Heritage Lottery-funded “Remembering Herne Hill 1914-18” project we have been able to track the effects of the conflict on parishioners from its outbreak to the Armistice (with help from churchwarden Leigh Whittingham and administrator Derek Gibson).