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Robert Irving Burns

All Souls Church, Regent Street: A History

August 25, 2017    |   Panny Antoniou

All Souls Church is a striking building on the northern end of Regent Street, near the BBC’s Broadcasting House.

Designed by John Nash who – as the favoured architect of King George IV – designed many parts of London, All Souls Church was consecrated in 1824. All Souls was built in the regency style which was first pioneered in the early 19th Century. This was during George IV’s time as Prince Regent for his mentally ill father King George III. The circular spired vestibule was designed to create a striking monument where Regent Street turns westward to align with Portland Place.

All Souls Church was a Commissioner’s Church and was built with a government grant of £12,819 (the modern equivalent of £1,020,000). This grant was distributed by the Church Building Commission. It was one of just two churches built by John Nash in such a way. The other was St Mary, Haggerston which was subsequently destroyed by World War Two bombing making All Souls the only surviving John Nash church. All Souls was also damaged by explosions in 1940 and was closed for almost ten years while it was restored. Further excavations and restoration work was carried out in the 1970s to restructure the interior of the church.

Famous for its musical tradition, All Souls Church features the Hunter Organ, a famous organ enclosed in a mahogany case which was designed by John Nash. Correctly anticipating war damage, the organ was dismantled and stored away during the Second World War. The organ was the remodelled and rebuilt in 1951. It is still a functioning church today, with a weekly congregation of around 2,500. In addition, the church is often used by the BBC for broadcasting due to its proximity to Broadcasting House.

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