Skip to main content

Visiting An Unusually Shaped, Italianate Church Building, Soho Square, London, England: St. Patrick's, Dating From 1893

  • Author:
  • Updated date:
Flag of England

Flag of England

Designed by John Kelly (1840-1904)

[NB: Among the many notable buildings which are the subject of these hubpages, these may include religious buildings, described as churches, etc.; these descriptions centre on the buildings' architectural and historical interest. This visit occurred a number of years ago.]

Executed in red brick, the Italianate St. Patrick's (Roman Catholic) Church, facing Soho Square Gardens in London, England, by John Kelly (1840-1904) (1), was commenced in 1891 and completed in 1893. A striking feature of this building is its elongated shape. This shape can be seen to effect in the photo I have supplied, above (2).

Another interesting feature of St. Patrick's is the fact that under the building there exist extensive catacombs.

A very conspicuous feature of the building is its tower, where the horizontal lines of its Italianate 'stacked' levels are particularly apparent. The building's main entrance at its narrow, Soho Square elevation is enhanced by a prominent pediment and transom, supported by Corinthian columns.

The ornate interior of the building contains a late 18th century marble Pietà. The building underwent a program of refurbishment in 2010 and 2011.

St. Patrick's is especially noted for a musical tradition and is known as a regular concert venue. In the 1960s, the building served as a chaplaincy to the University of London.

The congregation that started meeting in the building at its inception had its origins in 1792, from a chapel which formed part of the former, sumptuously furnished Carlisle House, on Soho Square, at which operatic soprano and impresario Teresa Cornelys (1723-1797)(3) hosted numerous, society events.

The Italianate style of St. Patrick's saw a period of popularity in the 19th century; and by the lines of St. Patrick's I am at least superficially reminded of the comparable style of Osborne House, Queen Victoria's Isle of Wight residence.

January 29, 2021


(1) Other works by Architect Kelly include the Anglican St. Luke's Church, Kingston-upon-Thames, dating from 1886-87, the Gothic Revival style of which illustrates a versatile transition which was to be made to Italianate here at St. Patrick's; he was also responsible for various Roman Catholic parish church buildings. John Kelly was at various times associated with architectural partnerships Adams and Kelly, and Kelly and Birchall. While St. Patrick's was designed under the auspices of Kelly and Birchall, John Kelly is known to have been the principal architect.

See also:

Scroll to Continue

(2) Also visible in the photo, above, is Centre Point, dating from 1966: George Marsh's much commented upon tower block, itself now a Listed (heritage) building endowed with the Concrete Society's Mature Structures Award.

(3) Teresa Cornelys was a Venetian-born member of a musical family, whose operatic career saw many appearances at the Haymarket. The social functions, including balls and masquerades, over which she presided at Carlisle House were written about by Lawrence Sterne, Tobias Smollett, W. M. Thackeray and Charles Dickens. Her biographical details were marked by complexities and obscurities; she is known to have been closely identified with fellow-Venetian writer and adventurer Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798).

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

"Remarkable characters at Mrs. Cornely's masquerade", engraved for the Oxford Magazine, Feb. 1771 © The Trustees of the British Museum

"Remarkable characters at Mrs. Cornely's masquerade", engraved for the Oxford Magazine, Feb. 1771 © The Trustees of the British Museum

Also worth seeing

Also in Soho Square are various, notable structures; these include: the French Protestant Church, dating as a congregation from 1550 in the reign of Edward VI, housed in an ornate, terracotta building by Sir Aston Webb, completed in 1893; a Tudor Revival market cross-style building in Soho Square Gardens, dates from the 1920s; a statue of King Charles 1, in whose reign the Square was created, sculpted by Caius Gabriel Cibber from Denmark, dates from 1681; a number of the sought after properties on the Square are identified with companies prominent in the film industry; the wider neighbourhood is strongly linked with the retail and entertainment industries.

London has such huge numbers of visitor attractions that I will refer to only a small fraction of the principal ones; these include: Trafalgar Square; the Houses of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster; Westminster Abbey (where Queen Elizabeth II was crowned and where Prince William and Kate Middleton were married); St. Paul's Cathedral; the Royal Albert Hall; and so many others.

How to get there

United Airlines flies from New York Newark Airport to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. Underground and train services link Heathrow Airport with Central London. Soho Square is easily accessible via Tottenham Court Road Underground Station (Central and Northern Lines). Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada

Other of my hubpages may also be of interest


MJFenn (author) on February 02, 2021:

Liz Westwood: The building's typical Italianate lines are indeed similar to other contemporaneous designs. Thank-you for your comment.

Liz Westwood from UK on January 29, 2021:

I hadn't noticed this before. It is interesting to note its distinctive style. I can see why you compare it to Osborne House.

Related Articles