St Mary Abbots Church on Kensington High Street was built in 1872 and designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott (architect of the Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office among many others), though church buildings had been on the site before then.
Some of its notable parishioners have included the scientist Isaac Newton, the abolitionist William Wilberforce and the author William Makepeace Thackeray. The author Beatrix Potter was married here in 1913.
Part of the roof was destroyed and some of the stained glass damaged by German incendiary bombs during the Second World War. Supposedly as the firefighters worked a musician started playing God Save the King on the organ, keeping water out of its pipes and preserving it from being destroyed.
The church was bigger inside than I was expecting though also somewhat darker. It can accommodate a congregation of over 1000.
They do have some lovely stained glass windows, almost all of them Victorian.
This lovely font was also designed by George Gilbert Scott, the marble section with its beautiful sculptures having been paid for by parishioners whose children had been baptised in the font of the previous church.
It also has some interesting memorials including these two.
Of note also is the kneeling angel which was sculpted by Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s daughter, in memory of her brothers Alfred and Leopold.
Definitely worth a visit and it was the first church I’ve seen (though I’ve since come across others) where you can buy a guidebook/leave a donation via a self-service contactless payment. Very handy if like many today you don’t carry around much cash, and indeed in the time of COVID. You can find some more photos here.
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