A 100-year-old church hall burned to the ground this morning leaving community groups without a home in the new year.

Twickenham fire brigade received calls shortly after 5.30am to reports of a building on fire in St Mark's Road, Teddington.

About 25 firefighters were at the scene and spent more than an hour-and-a-half battling the blaze.

Station manager John Gaffney said: “All the residents were saying that just before we got there the flames had been extremely high.”

He said the blaze had gutted the building, adding “It’s now no longer”.

The pre-fabricated stand-alone building, built in 1908, was formerly used as a church before the current church was built.

It has since been used as a meeting hall for scout and community groups and for parties and wedding receptions.

St Mark’s Church and neighbouring Sacred Heart Primary School were not damaged by the fire, however the school was closed due to a large amount of debris in the playground.

St Mark’s vicar David Lund said: “It’s sad.

“It was a church for 40 years and then a church hall for 60 years.

“There are plans for a new one which we hoped to start building in the next 18 months but that might have to be brought forward.

“Church services will be unaffected.”

Rev Lund said the fire brigade told him it was unclear what had started the fire but it was “not convinced” it was an accident.

Mr Gaffney said the cause of the blaze was under investigation.

Firefighters remained at the site this morning and the road was closed both ways to traffic.

No injuries were reported.

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