LXI.—QUEEN SQUARE CHAPEL.: (Demolished).:
NO. 50 QUEEN ANNE'S GATE.
Description of the building.
Reference has been made (see p. 104) to the fact that when Queen
Square was sold by public auction in 1723 it was said to include "a Chappell
… used for Divine Worship according to the Rites and Ceremonies
of the Church of England." This chapel, as well as the statue of Queen
Anne, the "Visto" at the end of the square, etc., was conveyed to trustees
for the use and benefit in common of the purchasers of the houses. (fn. 1)
It was situated on the north side of the stable yard (Queen Square
Mews), and comprised the upper floor of a building, the ground floor of
which consisted of certain of the coach-houses allotted to various houses in
the square. (fn. 2)
A block plan of the Chapel made in 1840, (fn. 3) and here reproduced, gives
the dimensions of the site as 28 feet wide at the west end and 92 feet 6 inches
deep on the north side. The latter dimension is clearly incorrect, there
being no room for such a depth, (fn. 4) but the two short dimensions at the east
end, viz. 18 feet 9 inches north to south and 17 feet 6 inches east to west,
closely approximate to those of the present buildings as shown on the
According to Kip's view (Plate 77), the chapel had a tiled roof hipped
at the west end, and a gable at the east end, with a small, square structure
at the ridge level, which probably contained a bell. (fn. 5) Large semicircular
windows are shown, with two ranges of windows in the west wall, and
quoins at the angles of the building. No other records have been found
to illustrate the design of the chapel, nor is any descriptive account
On the conversion of the interior into offices about 1888, very extensive alterations, comprising a practical rebuilding, were carried out. A new
roof was supplied, and the building was divided horizontally, thus creating
an additional floor.
The disposition of the windows as shown in Kip's view would favour
such a division, and in fact the top portions of two old windows, 2 feet
3 inches in height, with red gauged arches, are still in existence at the west
end, though they are only visible from the outside. Inside, the space has
been plastered over.
The modern offices are approached by a flight of stone steps from Queen
Anne's Gate. The ground floor of the premises, where the coach-houses
used to be, is now occupied by garages which have their entry from Queen
A portion of the north wall appears to be original, and has red-brick
quoins at the angle, as illustrated by Kip.
A relic of the old chapel has been preserved by the Royal Drawing
Society, and is now in the entrance hall of their present premises at No. 18
Queen Anne's Gate (Plate 125). It consists of a well-executed frame of pine
with two pilasters carved with the vine and enriched above with console
brackets having winged cherub's heads as corbels. Each console carried a
section of an elaborately enriched entablature, the two being connected by a
segmental arch in the form of the upper part of a carved pediment. It has
been stated that this formed part of the reredos and contained the Ten
Commandments, but its form and construction rather suggest that it was a
door frame. It was given to the Royal Drawing Society when they entered
into possession of a portion of the premises in 1890.
In the Mews yard on the south side is a small two-storey brick cottage
with a pantile roof, which probably dates from the end of the 18th century.
This small cottage affords a striking contrast to the towering mass of Queen
History of the chapel.
The earliest reference to the chapel which can be dated occurs in Hatton's
New View of London in 1708. (fn. 6) A more detailed notice, (fn. 7) in 1714, runs:—
"The Chapel in Queen's Square by St. James's Park, in the Parish
"of St. Margaret Westminster. This private Chapel was founded for the
Use of the Tenants within Queen's Square (fn. 8) by Mr. Charles Shales, Proprietor, in 1706; it's very neat and fine, and beautified with a stately
Gallery, Pulpit, and other Ornaments. Wherein are
"Prayers only on Wednesdays, Fridays and Holy Days, at eleven in
the Summer Time, but every Week Day in the Winter; and Evening
Prayers constantly at four; and the Holy Sacrament at usual Times.
"And Sermon every Sunday, and publick State Day, at eleven; and
only Prayers at three.
"Minister. Mr. Edward Oliver."
An earlier reference even than that of Hatton, however, is probably
that contained in a document among the Westminster Abbey records (fn. 9)
entitled: "Proposals concerning the chapel in Queen's Square." It runs
|"The rent of the pews||£170|
|"To the Minister||£50|
|Clerk and under officers||20|
|Repairs and incidents||10|
|To the Charity School||10|
"The building to be invested in … trustees whereof the Minister
to be one.
"Mr. Shales to be perpetual patron.
"The Minister to be licensed by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster.
"All offerings at the Sacrament to be sent to the Minister and Officers
of the Parish and none of the Ministry rights to be prejudiced.
"The trustees to be the Vestry; to lett the Pews, and the overplus of
the Profits above the charges to be paid to the Minister."
But little of the history of the chapel is known. In 1716 it was for
a time the scene of the preaching of Antonio Gavin. Gavin was a Spanish
convert from Roman Catholicism, who on the recommendation of Lord
Stanhope had been received into the Church of England by the Bishop of
London, from whom he had obtained "leave to officiate in the Spanish
"language in the Chappel of Queen's Square, Westminster." (fn. 10) According
to Gavin himself his congregation consisted of "Lord Stanhope, several
"English Officers and a few Spanish Officers, new Converts."
In 1748 a dispute arose between the Dean and Chapter and the
ministers of the three private chapels (Duke Street Chapel, Queen Square
Chapel, and the Chapel in the New Way) on the subject of the disposal of
the money collected at the Communion Service, and it was stated that the
ministers then in office had not been licensed. (fn. 11)
It has not been found possible to draw up anything like a complete
list of chaplains. The only names which have been recovered (fn. 12) are as
Edward Oliver .
Given as the minister in Pietas Londiniensis.
Thomas Baker [1748–1759].
"The Rev. Mr. Baker" was the minister at the time of the dispute with the Dean and
Chapter (W.A.M., 24807), and the records of the Visitation by the latter in 1759 show that he
(Thomas Baker) was still the minister, and John Maddox his assistant.
John Shepherd [1808–1820].
The parish ratebooks for the years 1808 to 1820 contain a note: "Rev. Mr. Shepperd for
"Chapple." This was John Shepherd, who from 1798 held the position of lecturer at the church
of St. Giles in the Fields. (fn. 13) He published A Selection of Psalms and Hymns for public worship and
private devotion, more particularly designed for the use of the congregation at Queen's Square Chapel.
William Bailey, B.A. [1841–1843].
At a Visitation held on 10th October, 1842, the minister's name is given as William Bailey, (fn. 14)
and William Bailey, B.A., is mentioned as the minister of Queen Square Episcopal Chapel in the
issues of the Post Office Directory from 1841 to 1843.
John Flowerdew Colls, D.D. .
In the issue of the Post Office Directory for 1844 John F. Colls, D.D., is given as the minister
of St. Peter's, Queen Square. In 1841 he had been curate of St. John's, Hampstead, and in 1845
became incumbent of St. Anne's, Wandsworth. In 1853 he obtained the rectory of Laindon-cumBasildon, Essex. He was the author of a Vindication of Infant Baptism and of Utilitarianism
Richard Wilson .
In the record of a visitation held on 19th October, 1846, is an entry: "Queen Square Chapel
(Closed). Revd. Richard Wilson, Minister," and all the words except the last have been deleted. (fn. 15)
It is probable that this was Richard Wilson, D.D., who was author of Questions on the Gospels and
Acts in connection with the Greek Testament, Evening Lecturer at Chelsea Old Church and Chaplain
of Chelsea Workhouse, and afterwards headmaster of St. Peter's Collegiate School, Eaton Square,
but it has not been found possible to confirm this.
James Kelly, M.A. [1848–1855].
The issues of the Clergy List for the years 1850 to 1855 show James Kelly as minister of
Queen Square Chapel, and that for 1855 shows him also as patron. According to Crockford for
1865 he became minister of "St. Peter's Chapel, Westminster," in 1848. He had previously held
the rectories of Stillorgan and Killishee, and was in 1846–47 minister of Charlotte Chapel, Pimlico.
In 1863 he became perpetual curate of St. George's, Liverpool. He was author of a number of
works, including The Eternal Purpose of God, The Apocalypse interpreted in the light of the Day of
the Lord, etc.
From 1855 to 1869, although "St. Peter's Episcopal Chapel" (fn. 16)
appears in the Post Office Directory, no clergy are shown in connection with
it, and it would seem that Kelly was the last chaplain. In the issue for 1870
the chapel drops out. For the last few years the entry had taken the form
of "St. Peter's Episcopal Chapel and Ragged School," and the reference
to the Ragged School was retained until 1871. In the following year
"Queen Square Mission Hall" takes its place and remains until 1886,
when for two years the building appears as a Police Institute. In 1889 it
drops out altogether and in 1890 is replaced by offices. (fn. 17)
In the Council's Collection are:—
Queen Square Mews, general view looking north-west (photograph).
No. 2 Queen Square Mews, view looking south (photograph).
Queen Anne's Gate, showing entrance to Mews (photograph).
(fn. 18) Queen Square Chapel, wood carving from Chapel (photograph).