St Saviour, Pimlico
Saint Saviour is an Anglo-Catholic church in Pimlico, located at the north end of St George's Square. It was constructed in the 1860s as part of Thomas Cubitt's development of the area on behalf of the Marquess of Westminster . The church was designed by Thomas Cundy, who had previously built St Gabriel's Pimlico a short distance away. As with St Gabriel's, St Saviour's was designed in the Gothic style and built in ragstone to emphasise the contrast with the classical stucco of its secular neighbours. The building is Grade II* listed.

The foundation stone was laid on the 16th June 1863, and the church was consecrated on the 16th July 1864. The spire, at 170 feet (51.8m) high, was one of the tallest in London. At that time, the church interior looked rather bare. There were two long galleries extending from the chancel to the west end and there was no screen or pulpit, just a small brass lectern. In 1871, the present organ by Hill & Son was installed. In 1882, there was a major restoration called by a former churchwarden ‘the beautifying of the church’: the galleries were removed, the arcade work was added to the sanctuary and the East window filled with stained glass designed by the vicar’s son Romaine Walker and representing Christ in Majesty (made by Clayton Bell). This work was made possible by the generosity of the parishioners (the sum of £1,500 being collected) and the supervision of the work by Romaine Walker himself. Further stained glass windows were completed after 1882 and pictures added.

Turn of the 20th century
Between 1887 and 1912, a number of new additions were made which can be seen today. The side chapel was blessed in 1889, the sanctuary was decorated in 1891 and the clock placed in the tower in 1895. In 1911, the coronation year of King George V, the church was specially cleaned and the steeple repaired at a cost of £250. The vicar at this active time was Henry Washington who made an outstanding contribution to Saint Saviour’s Pimlico. So much so that his life and ministry are commemorated by two stained glass windows, the chancel screen (erected in 1913) and the oak pulpit. These notes are taken from a history published in 1914 by a churchwarden. Mr Marritt-Fox concluded his history of Saint Saviour’s by saying: “.... people of the present day ... owe a great deal to the men and women of the earlier date, who did so much by stirring up enthusiasm about Church matters, and contributing liberally of their time and money to build churches, work the parishes, and level up the religious standard of the day. How can we show our gratitude for their efforts better than giving in like manner our services and our money, and in every possible way supporting the parochial organizations and the work which the Clergy are carrying on in our parish at the present time”. In the 1930s the statues of the Madonna and Child (after Michelangelo), the Sacred Heart, and the Stations of the Cross were shipped over from Oberammergau and added to the church.

Since the 1990s
In 1999 the south wall was cleaned and repaired and extensive areas of damaged plaster-work were restored. The church was also completely redecorated. In the course of this work the full extent of the decorative panels of the chancel ceiling was uncovered. These panels were cleaned and restored. At the same time a simple oak central altar was installed in the nave to the west of the choir screen. The Lady Chapel has also been reinstated in the south chancel-transept, and the nave transepts have been cleared of unwanted pews creating a feeling of spaciousness throughout the entire building. Most recently, in 2007, the Pimlico Room, parish office and sacristy have been renovated and restored. The Pimlico Room had been subsiding; this was attended to, and toilets added. A mezzanine was installed in the Sacristy to allow for more space for both office and sacristy.

Notable past parishioners
During its history Saint Saviour has been associated with a number of famous and distinguished people. The first Duke of Westminster erected the church at his own expense, with Mr George Cubitt, descendant of the builder of much of Pimlico. Recently the present Duke has acted as Patron of Saint Saviour’s Restoration Appeal. Laurence Olivier’s father, Gerard Kerr Olivier, was a curate at Saint Saviour’s and Lord Olivier was a choirboy and altar server. The founder of modern lawn tennis, Mr Wingfield, was a regular worshipper, and Sir Compton Mackenzie, the writer, was married in the church.

Church hall
Saint Saviour’s church hall is situated alongside the south wall. The hall is in use nearly every day of the week, and is home to the Young England Kindergarten where Lady Diana Spencer worked before her marriage to HRH The Prince of Wales. Following her death, a tree was planted and a bench seat added in her memory.

Building Activity

  • Georgi Sokolov
    Georgi Sokolov activity.buildings_person.create
    about 6 years ago via