St John’s Wood Church

St John's Wood Church

St John’s Wood Church, formerly St John’s Wood Chapel, was built in 1813-14, the work of the architect Thomas Hardwick. With its original box pews and fine collection of monuments, the building has been in continuous use as a place of Christian worship since its construction. The chapel was built as a Chapel of Ease to St. Marylebone Parish Church (i.e. a subsidiary church conveniently located for some outlying habitations within the parish). It occupies a prominent site, facing a major roundabout, and is adjacent to Lord’s cricket ground, where Thomas Lord had set up in a then-rural location in 1780.

After bomb damage during the Second World War rendered St Stephen’s church in Avenue Road unusable, St John’s Wood Church became a parish church in its own right in 1952. The church is a simple building in Regency style with a portico of four Ionic columns. The interior is very plainly decorated in white and gold which makes it reminiscent of churches in New England. The box pews are original.

The construction is brick on the sides and rear, and stone facings to the front, featuring a perfect ionic portico with a clock in the pediment, and behind, a short, pretty tower with paired Tuscan column and a little cupola supporting a weather vane. This rather delicate exterior, now painted a pale beige-yellow which enhances its lightness, rather contrasts to the interior which is a cooler, more austere version of the classical ideal. This was rather altered by the Victorians, who removed many of the pews, and then restored closer to its original state after WW2. The low columns, the boxed-in pews, and variety of monuments on the walls give an ambience rather lost in some emptier classical churches.

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