About us

The Fitzrovia Chapel Foundation looks after the chapel on behalf of the local community, our visitors, other organisations and the wider public. We’re responsible for promoting its place in local history, heritage and culture.

We are also entrusted with the conservation, restoration, maintenance and preservation of the building and its contents. The chapel has never been consecrated, or dedicated, nor was it ever registered as a religious building under English law. We have a licence so that marriages and civil partnerships may be conducted here. We also hold baby naming ceremonies. 

Open Days

The chapel’s original purpose was to provide a place for reflection and quiet contemplation for the staff and patients of the former Middlesex Hospital. We continue this tradition, opening the chapel on Wednesdays to the public. Between 11:00 and 16:00, visitors are welcome to learn more of the chapel’s history, appreciate its breathtaking architecture or ‘just be’ in the calm and serene surroundings.

Meditation & Mindfulness

In these busy times, there is great value in giving ourselves permission to be still and look around us, to reflect and to engage only in the wealth of colour, soft light and sense of history that the chapel brings.  Increasingly, research tells us that practices such as mindfulness and meditation help ease anxiety, depression and social isolation. We offer the chapel to you as just such a space. Somewhere you can step out of the concerns of city life and feel you are in another world. A place to stop and wonder, but most definitely to stop.

There is no charge for our open days and you do not need to book. Please come as often as you would like. We value our community and love greeting familiar faces as well as new visitors. The chapel is wheelchair accessible.

’This beautiful jewel-box of a building’

Grayson Perry, Artist

Lineage

What is Lineage?

Lineage is a programme of heritage events run by the chapel. Each is different but all root us in our strong sense of history within the Fitzrovia community. They allow us to explore cultural, sociological and historical influences while looking to the future.

Whether it’s the unmistakable voice of Dylan Thomas at Christmas, the poetry of Rimbaud, the luminous images of AIDS patients at the former Middlesex Hospital or discussions of counterculture, our Lineage events all anchor us to our past and give us direction.

Leading up to World Aids Day on 1 December 2017, we presented our first photographic exhibition as part of our Lineage programme. Called The Ward, it chronicled the lives of four patients on the Broderip and Charles Bell wards in the former Middlesex Hospital. The Broderip was the first AIDS ward in London and was opened by Diana, Princess of Wales in 1987. In 2018, we present our exhibition Dwelling.

What is Wireless Contemplation?

Wireless Contemplation is part of our Lineage programme. Each month we offer an audio presentation linked to culturally significant themes which are important to the heritage of our community.  Past events have included a celebration of LGBT writers in Fitzrovia, and notable women who have a connection to the area. Wireless Contemplation events in 2018 cover Black History Month, Doris Lessing, Laurence Olivier and George Orwell’s 1984.

With each Wireless Contemplation event, we are building our community who, like us, care deeply for the chapel and our historical roots. Visitors come to hear stories, meet like-minded friends, gaze at the chapel and take time out of the everyday. For an hour each month — usually a lunch hour — it is a chance to sit in gorgeous surroundings and really listen. There is no distraction as the audio presentation, including voices such as those of Laurence Oliver, Doris Lessing or Oscar Wilde, rings out  around the walls.

DAY TO DAY

Caring for the Chapel

As well as looking after the day-to-day care of this treasured space, the Fitzrovia Chapel team greets visitors, recounts its stories, cherishes its history, passes on the wonder. Whether you are seeking peace and calm on our open days, enquiring about getting married, studying our unique architecture or holding a fashion show or shoot, we can help guide you to the right place. And if you’d like to join the team, let us know your skills and how you’d like to share them with the chapel.

The Team

“What inspires us about the chapel?”

Jane

Jane

Fundraiser

‘The beauty of the chapel draws you in. But there’s something about the tiny details that humanises the space. It’s about the plaques that commemorate nursing staff, and I’m particularly fond of one plaque that honours a maintenance person. I love the focus on the diversity of contributions to the chapel. We sometimes forget about the people who fix radiators. I also love that I can be in a place of complete beauty which has a religious flavour but it’s actually a safe, secular space. I’m not required to take part in a religious ceremony to be here.

Contact Jane at jane.bell@fitzroviachapel.org

Madeleine

Madeleine

MEDIA, WEDDINGS AND HIRES

Initially, I’d have to say that the luminous beauty of architecture and design pulled me in to the chapel. How could you not be under its spell? However, having worked here for a while, it’s the culture of the Foundation that keeps me here. Its focus on kindness, on rational thought and discussion, on the value of silent reflection are unlike any other place. It informs a programme of events which will provide a huge contribution to the artistic life of the Fitzrovia community and beyond.

Contact: Madeleine at media@fitzroviachapel.org

The Trustees

Hannah Watson

Hannah Watson

CHAIR

Hannah Watson became chair of the Fitzrovia Chapel in January 2020 after previously joining as a trustee in May 2016. She first came to Fitzrovia in 2011 when she co-founded the gallery TJ Boulting in the Grade II* listed Arts and Crafts building on nearby Riding House Street. Today she continues as director of the gallery as well as independent arts publisher Trolley Books. Hannah says: ‘When I arrived in Fitzrovia, the chapel was a little red brick island, only a stone’s throw away from the gallery, which tantalisingly disappeared from view while the development around it was built. When it reopened, I was enthralled to see inside it for the first time, and its unexpected beauty amazed me as much then as it continues to do so now. I am proud to be chair of the chapel and ensure it continues to invite people in to enjoy its beauty and history, from our local community in Fitzrovia to farther afield, and all who knew the chapel in its previous existence as part of the Middlesex Hospital. Today we open our doors as a secular charity that serves community and the arts, and we also welcome you to share in the chapel's unique hidden splendour through getting married, or hiring it as a venue for art, music, film and fashion. However you discover the chapel, we look forward to seeing you here soon.’

Daniel Bates

Daniel Bates

Daniel Bates (MA CANTAB, FRSM, FTCL, ARAM, AGSMD) is principal oboe with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia and co-principal oboe of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Previously, he also held the principal oboe position with the Royal Northern Sinfonia at the Sage, Gateshead. Daniel is the founder and Artistic Director of FitzFest, a community chamber music festival, based in Fitzrovia, central London.

John Aubusson

John Aubusson

John is an independent management consultant who has called Fitzrovia home for more than twenty years. He first visited the chapel in 2005 while recuperating at the hospital shortly before it closed, and so was delighted to accept the invitation to become Treasurer of the beautifully restored chapel as it reopened to the public in March 2016, allowing him to help shape the chapel’s growing role in the community and the arts.  In addition to overseeing the development of the chapel’s finance function and reporting, and his wider board responsibilities, John chairs the finance committee which meets quarterly in preparation for the board meetings. John now splits his time between Fitzrovia and El Gòtic in Barcelona, loving both dearly.

Elliot Payne

Elliot Payne

VICE CHAIR

Elliot is an architect and director of a small but dedicated architectural practice He is deeply interested in how and why we build the buildings we do and ultimately how this affects their sustainability, how they are created, how they will be used and how they will be reused. Listed buildings and heritage properties feature heavily in his work because they deliver a fascinating opportunity to observe these interests in other buildings from other times.
He first saw the building, but only the exterior, when it stood alone in the cleared site that is now Pearson Square. He had all but forgotten about this lonely little building until chance intervenes and, as he describes: 'this golden, lucid cacophony of ideas, histories and personal stories' had him beguiled.
Elliot joined the board in the hope that he could bring his pragmatic knowledge of dealing with such buildings to the use of the foundation. This includes overseeing and developing the building's maintenance planning, but more importantly ensuring that the chapel's unique nature as a place in London is not just preserved but receives its just use and enjoyment.