Formerly a noted church in London’s West End, St Andrew’s Church now has a new life in Kingsbury.
The church’s origins go back to its construction in Wells Street, Marylebone, in the mid-19th century. Designed by Samuel Daukes, the church, the construction of which began in 1845, was completed in February, 1847.
St Andrew’s soon become one of the city’s most fashionable churches (Prime Minister, William Gladstone, was an occasional worshipper).
Rev Benjamin Webb was vicar between 1862-85 – a time when the church was known for its High Anglican services, and it was during his tenure that the church’s rather splendid interior fittings were added.
These included a reredos (featuring five sculptures by James Redfern) designed by GE Street, a high altar by Augustus Pugin, a brass reading desk by William Butterfield and a litany desk by William Burges (now in the V&A).
By the start of the 20th century, the area around the church was being transformed as residences gave way to commercial property and warehouses. The congregation dwindled and eventually the church was declared redundant, its doors closing on Easter Sunday, 1931.
The church was set to be demolished but there was an outcry and eventually a proposal to relocate it to Kingsbury, in London’s north-west, where there was a congregation urgently needing a new building.
The church was carefully dismantled – each stone labelled and numbered – and then transported 10 miles to Kingsbury where it reconstructed in Old Church Lane.
The rebuild – described at the time as putting together “the biggest jigsaw in the world” (yes, it’s a somewhat overused phrase when it comes to building relocations) – took three years and involved making as few changes to the former structure as possible.
The building was finally reconsecrated on 13th October, 1934, by Arthur Foley Winnington Ingram, the Bishop of London. St Andrew’s Kingsbury remains in use as a church today.