In 1873 an iron church was built in a windy part of south London known as One Tree Hill. One of the priests serving the congregation of this temporary edifice was the Revd Thomas Helmore (1811–1890), formerly Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal and a noted authority on Gregorian chant. As a key figure in the revival of the English choral tradition, it is inconceivable that music would not have played a central part in the worship of the day.
When the time came to build a more permanent structure, a magnificent organ to be built by Lewis was included in the ambitious plans. Although it would not be completed for another 45 years, the first section was ready by the time of the consecration in April 1887. Alfred Eyre was appointed the first Organist and Master of Music in 1881, and remained in post for 38 years.
Music continues to be a central part of the worship at St John’s.