The subject of the third volume of the Parish of Chelsea is a single
building, but one that will never fail to arouse the deep interest,
even the veneration of the student of London. The Old Church
on Cheyne Walk is now within the Metropolitan area, but it still recalls a
period when Chelsea was a riverside village, albeit a village of palaces. To
these and to the men and women who dwelt therein, the Church owes much
of its supreme interest as a human document in brick and stone. The
story of the building and its past worshippers has been eloquently told by
Mr. Randall Davies, son of the Rev. R. H. Davies, who, while incumbent,
gained for the inhabitants the freeholds of the beautiful chapels that stand
north and south of the chancel. Mr. Davies's book is generally recognized
as authoritative. To it the present volume is, we hope, a worthy sequel, our
object being to present as far as possible a full architectural account
of the Church, its fittings and monuments, and thus to complete
the record. The Committee have been engaged on work at Chelsea for
a number of years, but a large part of our material has been collected
during the past eighteen months. Certain of the earlier photographs,
however, taken before the late restoration of the Church, have been
included as being more valuable for reference than the views of to-day.
The intention expressed in a former volume of including the inscriptions in
the burial grounds of the Royal Hospital and the Moravians, and the
other public burial places of the Parish, with those of the Churchyard
in this volume has had to be laid aside because of the increased cost of
printing and production. The inscriptions have, however, been all
collected and they will be printed in the fourth and concluding part of
The thanks of the Committee are due to the Rector of Chelsea,
the Venerable Archdeacon H. E. J. Bevan, to the Rev. Weston Henry
Stewart, incumbent of the Old Church, and to Mr. R. West, the verger
and watchful custodian of the Church's treasures, for the kindly assistance
they have given. Acknowledgment is also made to the Trustees of the
Chelsea Public Library, and to Mr. J. H. Quinn in regard to the valuable
MS. (fn. 1) and other records under their care and for permission to reproduce
certain of the drawings; to Major Sir Edward F. Coates, Bt., M.P., for
generously placing his famous collection at the Committee's disposal and
allowing reproductions to be made; to Mr. Arthur S. Long, of 155 King's
Road, for permission to use a number of his photographs; to Mr. Eric R.
Jarrett, A.R.I.B.A., and the following students of the Architectural Association. Miss E. G. Cooke, Messrs E. R. Silver, Geoffrey Clark, Cecil Smith,
J. H. White, A.R.I.B.A., Lifford Claydon, H. St. John Harrison, A.R.I.B.A.,
and C. W. Fowler, who have furnished several of the most interesting of the
measured drawings; and to Mr. Randall Davies, to whose labours every
student of Chelsea is indebted and to whom the Committee are obliged for
his kindness in reading the proofs of the present book.
I may, perhaps, be permitted to add a personal expression of
gratitude to our Editor, Mr. Philip Norman, and to those members of the
Committee who have assisted in a somewhat arduous task and without whose
labours this record could not have been undertaken or completed.
WALTER H. GODFREY.
11 Carteret Street,
Queen Anne's Gate, S.W. 1.