Tuesday, 4 December 2012

all saints

I bought my Christmas cards yesterday (biblical and very beautiful, if you want to know), from a very special place indeed. Tucked behind the seventh circle of hell that is Oxford Street, lies the rather unremarkable Margaret Street (I suppose you'd call it Fitzrovia), and hidden amongst its grey buildings, the wonderful church of All Saints silently resides. I try and visit often; it's one of my favourite spots in the whole of London.

The grade I listed building is an Anglican church built in the High Victorian Gothic style by the architect William Butterfield and completed in 1859. The British architectural critic Ian Nairn claimed that 'this building can only be understood in terms of compelling, overwhelming passion', and he's absolutely right. I can never quite express to people just how utterly perfect this church is. I'm not religious at all, but I do enjoy visiting religious buildings, and this one has to be my favourite of all. The red brick walls, banded and patterned with black brick, the richly patterned interior with inlays of marble and tile, the heady smell of incense, the absolute peace and quiet that you experience as soon as you cross the threshold... It's an incredible work of art. Just please don't let too many people know about it.

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