Above: The south entrance of the church seen across Marylebone Road. The rather unedifying heavy traffic that thunders past has been ‘edited’ from view.
The section of the ‘New Road’ that runs through St Marylebone is today called Marylebone Road. On the south side of the road, facing north, is the entrance to the present parish church of St Mary. The church is grand but, because the entrance faces north, it is quite difficult to take a ‘glamorous’ picture of it.
Not far to the east of this church is another church building which is situated on the north side of the same road, very close to Regent’s Park. This is the former Holy Trinity Church, built by Sir John Soane 1824–28. In 1818 Parliament passed an Act setting aside the enormous sum of one million pounds to celebrate the defeat of Napoleon. This is one of the so-called ‘Waterloo Churches’ that were built with that money.
Above: The unusual external stone incorporated in the south side of the church. It is probably the only one of this type in London.
The building is listed Grade II* by English Heritage. It has an external pulpit facing onto Marylebone Road and an entrance with four large Ionic columns. There is a lantern steeple, similar to St Pancras (New Church) which is also on the ‘New Road’ – but that part is today called Euston Road.
By the 1930s, the Anglican church had fallen into disuse and in 1936 was used by the newly founded Penguin Books company to store their books. A children’s slide was used to deliver books from the street into the large crypt. In 1937 they moved out to Harmondsworth, and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK), an Anglican missionary organization, moved in. It was their headquarters until 2006, when they relocated to Tufton Street, Westminster (they have since moved again to Pimlico). The church building is currently used as an events space, operated by One Events and known as One Marylebone. The venue now holds over 100 events a year ranging from weddings to corporate dinners, awards and press launches as well as exhibitions and charity events. In 2009 an art exhibition was held there, the centrepiece of which was a crucified ape.
The building itself forms a traffic island – being bounded by Marylebone Road at the south (front), with and Albany Street and Osnaburgh Street on either side. The street at the rear has no name. Because the church front faces south, it is well-lit on a sunny morning when the view at the top was taken.