The church of St. John the Divine was an overly ambitious project
started by Sir Hickman Beckett Bacon but never properly finished. A photograph of the foundation stone being laid shows only an adjacent (still standing) tree, the train track and open fields. All the tightly packed housing that now surrounds the building sprung up under the church's watch and most of the children attended one of three affiliated schools. Pevsner describes the vast interior as 'a place prepared for ritual' and the high Anglican services often involved Latin, Greek and lots of incense. Although the services often drew on pre- Reformation practices the time that it served as a working church, 1882-2000, neatly spans what we now think of as the modern period.
Marcus Hammond bought the building in 2005 and formed the not for profit company Slumgothic Ltd in 2006. Slumgothic derives from 'Slum Gothic', a characterisation of an architectural style that built spiritually aspirational (gothic) buildings with humble materials (brick). These churches were always built in poor areas and there are many in the east end of London. Slumgothic runs x-church as a 'space where things can happen.' x-church is an ex church and has no affiliation with any religious body.