Sunday 1 March 2009

The forgotten parish 13 of Hampstead

From worship to residence

That's the story of all Soul's Church in Loudoun Road, swiss Cottage. Of course the Estate Agents like to call it St John's Wood - others happy to describe it as South Hampstead (as per the Railway Station).

I've put in the large pic (right) to show the landscape of the station (it's the Euston Watford line) with the small tower block behind it which now dwarfs the church.

The church now is 8(?) flats!

The church dates from 1865 and in 1903 was parish 13 of the Hampstead Deanery. The parish was carved out of St Paul's, Avenue Road, St Mary's Kilburn, and All Saint's, Marylebone.

It has a pretty interesting history and was very much a local church for the area in South Hampstead - so a bit of background:

Founded by Revd. Henry Robinson Wadmore, asst. at St. John's Wood chapel in 1865 and he remained the incumbent until 1890
In 1901 G. F. Terry, was the Vicar until 1909. He was credited with revitalising the congregation and later went on to be canon of Edinburgh.
His brother (!) C. J. Terry, Vicar from 1909-19, increased the endowment.

Attendance in 1886 was recorded as being 274 at morning service.; 176 evening.
By 1903 it had little changed (but was sustained) 294 at morning service; 248 evening.

The church is built of stock brick with bands of red and Bath stone dressings, it seated 600. It is described as being apsidal chancel, aisled nave with bellcot, saddleback tower, and a vestry. Small asouthfacing porch was added in 1903. In 1905 an aditional aisle, tower, baptistery, porches, and choir vestry, giving 250 more seats, paid for by by Sir Charles Nicholson, Bt.

It had a chancel roof decorated like ancient choir roof of St. Albans abbey and the large oak altar installed as First World War mem.

The floor-plan was finally reordered in 1965: the altar was placed in front of the chancel steps, the font was brought forward, and the former chancel arranged as weekday chapel, and a baptistery added for exhibitions before the church closed in the 1970's(?).

A great place to now live in!

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