Monday, March 28th 2016
We had visited All Saints Church in Margaret Street a number of times, hoping to see the interior, but each time finding it closed. We tried again today and were in luck: it was open!
All Saints has been described as ‘a hidden gem’ and the photo above shows why: looking along Margaret Street, you could easily not notice that there was a church there at all.
The church was designed in 1850 by William Butterfield, an architect closely associated with the Gothic revival in architecture that was to become the architectural signature of the Victorian age. He was also connected with the Oxford Movement, which favoured richly decorated churches. It is a Grade I listed building.
The entrance is set back from the street in a small courtyard. This is accessed through a medieval-style gate and gives an impression similar to that of entering a castle or fortress, though in miniature.
Though the exterior is carefully styled and decorated it doesn’t prepare us for the splendour that lies within.
The soaring forms lead the eye upwards and then draw it down to focus on the altar with its coloured altar cloth and the wealth of scultured forms behind it.
Church ceilings are often dark as though to escape notice but this one is designed to stand out and be noticed.
Confession: The four photos of the exterior were taken on November 22nd 2014 but the others were taken during our visit today.