The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4

Allen, Thomas


St. Philip's Chapel.


This chapel was partly built by a grant of from the commissioners for building new churches, the remainder amounting to being raised by voluntary subscriptions. The stone was laid on , and it is capable of containing persons.

The principal front of this structure, which is situated on the western side of , is all that can be seen of the exterior. It is taken from a design of sir William Chambers; the order is the Roman Doric. The portico consists of fluted columns of


iron, sustaining an entablature and pediment. The metopes are charged with ox-sculls and paturae, alternating with each other, The portico is flanked by wings of brick stuccoed: in each are windows, the lower covered with circular pediments; the cornice is continued from the pediment along each of the wings; and on the atric is an ox-scull between festoons of flowers hanging from the horns. Within the portico are entrances and windows on the ground-floor, also covered with circular pediments, and other windows above, of a square form: behind the pediment is a tower also constructed either wholly or in part of iron. This structure is a copy of the choragic monument of Lysicrates, at Athens, better known as the lantern of Demosthenes. The facade, as will be seen from this description, is liable to many objections. The Grecian tower placed above an Italian portico, reminds the spectator of the freaks of the modern Gothic school; it appears much out of place, and speaks too plainly that it is an addition to the original design; the most objectionable ornaments however for a Christian church are the symbols of pagan sacrifice which accompany the architecture of this edifice. To say the least, such decorations are unmeaning, and are on that account absurd. Was an ancient Roman to be set down in , how would he be deceived, on entering the supposed temple, when he should learn, that the deity to whom it was erected, had declared, that his sacrifice was not the blood of bulls, as the frieze of the portico had led him to expect.

The interior of the chapel is of the Corinthian order, and displays some of the richer features of the Italian school. The galleries, which are attached to the east, south, and north sides, rest on square plinths, and the fronts are pannelled in oak; the same work is continued along the western end, dividing the building into stories. From the fronts of the north and south galleries rise Corinthian columns of scagliola; the shafts in imitation of Sienna, the capitals and bases of statuary marble, sustaining a highly enriched entablature, continued round the whole of the interior. These elegant collonades are flanked at their ends, towards the cast and west, by arches and piers; the latter ornamented with pilasters to correspond with the columns, and the key-stones formed into consoles. The architrave and frieze of the entablature are discontinued above each of these arches. Additional galleries are constructed above the aisles, and are fronted with ballustrades, forming a finish to the design. The ceiling of the area of the chapel is in portions; those above the arches just described, and which consequently form the extreme eastern and western divisions, are elliptically curved, and the coves filled with oblong pannels. The remainder of the ceiling is entirely composed of a dome, supported by elliptical arches rising from the internal piers of the arches; in the centre of the dome is a circular skylight. The ceilings of the lower galleries are divided into large square pannels,


each containing an expanded flower. The west end, against which is placed the altar, is the plainest portion of the building; it has a mean and unfinished appearance. The altar-screen is oak, and consists of pilasters of the Doric order, with an entablature, the intervals filled with pannelling; above is a large arched window, the head of which is divided from the other portion by the continued entablature; the jambs are flanked by pilasters, and the portion beneath the entablature is made into divisions by Corinthian columns, corresponding with those already described. The arched head of the window is filled with stained glass, representing a splendid irradiation surrounding the Hebrew name of the Deity; the rest of the glazing is filled up with dispersed glass. The remainder of the wall at this end of the building is plain, and contains other windows, which add nothing to the grandeur or beauty of the design, and when contrasted with the other parts of the building, the meanness of this portion cannot fail to strike any observer.

The eastern end of the church is occupied by a gallery corresponding with the lower galleries at the sides of the church, and an additional above contains the organ and seats for the charity children. On the front of the lower gallery is inscribed a list of the benefactors to the building.

The length of this chapel is feet, breadth , height of chapel feet inches, and of tower feet. The architect was G. A. Repston, esq.

Nearly opposite, at the north west corner of , is the United Service Club-house, a plain but neat structure, from the designs of R. Smirke, esq. The front, which is in , consists of a portico of Doric columns; above which, on the front of the edifice, is a ridiculous basso-relievo of Fame distributing rewards to our military and naval heroes.

At the south-west angle of the , surrounded with a piazza of the Doric order, is the


[] It is to be noted that in this chapel, the relative situations of the altar and tower are reversed, the former being at the west end, and the latter above the eastern front.

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 Title Page
CHAPTER I: Site, local divisions, and government of the City of Westminster; history of the Abbey; Coronation Ceremonies; and lists of the Abbots and Deans
CHAPTER II: Westminster Abbey, and Description of the Tombs and Monuments
CHAPTER III: History and Topography of St. Margaret's Parish
CHAPTER IV: History and Topography of St. John's Parish, Westminster
CHAPTER V: History and Topography of the parish of St. Martin's in the Fields, Westminster
CHAPTER VI: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. James, Westminster
CHAPTER VII: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Anne, Westminster
CHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Paul, Covent Garden
CHAPTER IX: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Mary-le-strand
CHAPTER X: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. Clement Danes
CHAPTER XI: History and Topography of the parish of st. George, Hanover Square
CHAPTER XII: History and Topography of the Precinct of the Savoy
CHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of the Inns of Court
CHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of the Precincts of the Charter-house and Ely Place, and the Liberty of the Rolls
 CHAPTER XV: Historical Notices of the Borough of Southwark
CHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Olave, Southwark
CHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of the parish of St. John, Southwark
CHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Thomas, Southwark
CHAPTER XIX: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. George's, Southwark
CHAPTER XX: History and Topography of St. Saviour's Parish
CHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of the parist of Christ-church in the County of Surrey
 CHAPTER XXII: A List of the Principal Books, &c that have been published in Illustration of the Antiquities, History, Topography, and other subjects treated of in this Work
 Addenda et Corrigienda