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Gallery: Churches of Central London
by Peter Kessler, 16 October 2011
City of Westminster Part 11: Churches of
Knightsbridge & Marylebone
St Paul Knightsbridge occupies a large plot on
the eastern side of Wilton Place, midway down the street from the junction
with Knightsbridge. The early Victorian church was consecrated in 1843, at
which time it was known as St Paul Wilton Row. The elaborate and highly
decorated building was the first church in London to champion the ideals of the
'Oxford Movement' which sought to bring back a more Catholic, elaborate tradition
of worship to Anglican churches.
Tiled panels around the walls of the nave, created in the
1870s by Daniel Bell, depict scenes from the life of Jesus Christ. The chancel
with its rood screen and striking reredos was added in 1892 by the eminent church
architect G F Bodley, who was also responsible for at least forty-three new church
builds. The fourteen stations of the Cross that intersperse the tiled panels,
painted in the early 1920s by Gerald Moira, show scenes from the Crucifixion story.
The German Church (Deutsche Evangelische Christuskirche)
stands on the northern side of Montpelier Place, midway along it, in Knightsbridge.
A Lutheran congregation was formed in the 1660s for the German and Scandinavian
merchant community in the City of London. The first building was erected on the
former site of Holy Trinity the Less, and this was replaced in the 1860s by the
Hamburg Lutheran Church in Dalston. The current church opened in 1904.
The Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God
& All Saints Russian Orthodox Church lies on the eastern side of
Ennismore Gardens, facing onto Rutland Gate to the east. It was built to
serve as All Saints Church Ennismore Gardens and was opened in 1849.
It closed in 1955. In 1977 the building was purchased by the Sourozh Diocese
of the Russian Orthodox Church, but in 2007 was the subject of a
potential take-over by the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints sits boldly on the south-east corner of the busy
Exhibition Road and Prince Consort Road, opposite the Science
Museum. The building was dedicated in 1961. With its gilded spire
and cleaned and whitened concrete it is perhaps one of the few
bright points of sixties architecture. Until the seventies the
building also served as the headquarters of the Mormon Church in
Britain, and still provides family history resources.
Holy Trinity Knightsbridge with All Saints
Church occupies a slot on the northern side of Prince Consort
Road, midway between Queen's Gate and the southern entrance to the
Royal Albert Hall. Originally the chapel of a leper hospital, the
church was rebuilt in 1609 and was known as Knightsbridge Chapel.
This chapel of ease gained a parish in 1866, and was replaced in
1901 by the present building, designed by architect George
The Parish Church of the Annunciation Bryanston
Street stands on the narrow north-west corner of Bryanston Street
and Old Quebec Street. A chapel of ease known as the Quebec Chapel
originally stood here from 1787. This was replaced by the present Gothic
building, designed by Walter Tapper, in 1911. Tapper also designed many
of the features including the magnificent reredos which was painted by
Jack Bewsey who also designed most of the stained glass.
Western Marble Arch Synagogue is at 32 Great
Cumberland Place, roughly at the southern centre of the semi-circular
drive on the eastern side of Great Cumberland Place. Generally known as
Marble Arch, the synagogue was formed in 1991 as the result of a
successful merger between the Western Synagogue (founded on Great
Pulteney Street in 1761 as the Westminster Synagogue) and the
Marble Arch Synagogue (founded in 1957 on the present site).
St Thomas Orchard Street stood at an uncertain
location on Portman Square, somewhere along the short run of Orchard
Street, which links Oxford Street to Portman Square. Almost no information
is available on the church. It was opened in 1858, but closed less than a
century later, perhaps in 1930. There are two buildings on Orchard Street
which may stand on the church's former site. One is very recent, to the
north of the photo (to the left), while this one is post-war.
St Paul Portman Square stood at the corner of
Robert Adam Street (although just which corner, north or south, is uncertain),
on the eastern side of Baker Street. The first building here was Portman
Chapel, built in 1779 as a proprietary chapel for the Portman Estate. It
became the parish church of St Paul in 1899, but in its later years it was
reduced to a chapel of ease and its parish united with that of All Souls
Langham Place. Its date of closure and demolition is uncertain.