Monday 21 September 2015

Past perfect: inside Middlesex Hospital Chapel

The last time I saw Middlesex Hospital Chapel, it was a sole survivor marooned in the wasteland of the demolished hospital. This Open House Weekend, I saw it again - now surrounded by the buildings of the new Fitzroy Place development. 

One of the consequences of that development is that the interior of the chapel has been restored - and it looks glorious. 

The chapel was designed by John Loughborough Pearson in 1891; after his death six years later, his son FL Pearson took over the work. The nave originally had a timber roof, but that too was replaced with mosaic in 1929-39.

The whole interior is a rich combination of marbles and mosaic, created by Italian craftspeople. 

The ante-chapel is lined with marble memorial tablets relating to the hospital, including this one to neurosurgeon Diana Beck, 'first medical woman on the consultant staff of this hospital'.

However, concerns over the chapel have not ended. Above all, what is it called? The developers listed it in the Open House guide as 'Fitzrovia Chapel'; their attempts to rename it have attracted much criticism. In response, they have left the original 'Middlesex Hospital' signage on its facade.

It was wonderful to see the chapel open after so many quiet years, and to know that much more public access is planned for the future. 

There are more photos on Flickr.


Hels said...

Why was the chapel designed and built as late as 1891? Had there been a chapel on the hospital site earlier, one that was perhaps too small or too damaged?

CarolineLD said...

I'm not sure; it may be that there was a simple room serving as a chapel in the hospital before that, or that it just relied on the local churches nearby (it's in central London).