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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Institutions


St John’s Chapel

Also known as Episcopal Chapel of St John/St John’s Chapel, Bedford Row

Not to be confused with John Street Chapel, sometimes known as John Street Chapel, Bedford Row


It opened as a Christian place of worship in 1721

In the nineteenth century it was particularly associated with the Rev. Baptist Wriothesley Noel, who took a lease of it in 1827 while still a member of the Church of England; he remained until dramatically announcing his secession from the Church of England there in 1848 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography); confusingly, he then became minister at John Street Chapel

It also ran schools, for which additions had been made to the Chapel building (Regulations of the Schools Instituted at St John’s Chapel, Bedford Row, for Religious Instruction, 1798)

The building became unsafe in 1856, and had to be demolished soon afterwards (Josiah Bateman, The Life of Daniel Wilson, DD: Bishop of Calcutta and Metropolitan of India, 1860)

Its famous organ, built for the chapel by Henry Cephas Lincoln in 1821, was sold for £230 and taken to Thaxted in Essex, where it became the organ played by Gustav Holst at the time he composed the Planets Suite (see, for example, the Thaxted organ restoration project online)

What was reforming about it?

It was a centre of evangelical teaching in the early nineteenth century

Where in Bloomsbury

It was at the corner of Chapel Street and Great James Street, according to Elmes’s Topographical Dictionary of London and its Environs (1831), although it is usually known as St John’s Chapel, Bedford Row

Website of current institution

It no longer exists and there is no current equivalent, although the historic Chapel does have its own Facebook page (opens in new window)

St John’s Chapel, Bedford Row

St John’s Chapel, Bedford Row; from Joseph Belcher, The Revivalist: Exclusively Devoted to the Revival and Extension of Evanglical Religion (1837)

Books about it

None found


None found

This page last modified 13 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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