The Church of Our Most Holy Redeemer is built on the site of Spa Fields Chapel, also known as Lady Huntingdon’s Chapel, which was an offshoot of the Methodist Church. The parish had been a mission district of St Phillip Granville Square with the Mission formerly in Wilmington Square.
The church was consecrated in 1888 and built in the Italianate style by the famous architect John Dando Sedding and represented a complete departure from the Gothic Revival style prevalent at that time. Sedding’s original design included frescoes but these never materialised. Henry Wilson later extended the church beyond the baldachino and added the Clergy House and hall buildings, but Sedding’s original interior design, which was a cross within a square similar to churches built by Christopher Wren, is still discernable today.
Holy Redeemer is a beautiful church and a proper church. The building is spectacular. I have learnt to pray here. Holy Redeemer has changed the context of my faith and my understanding of scripture. The preaching is good, the congregation loving, and administering the chalice has been life changing.
The church was built like so many other Anglo-Catholic missions according to the ideals of the Oxford Movement, and like some of its Gothic Revival counterparts was intended to rise up cliff-like and remind the whole neighbourhood of its presence. One is reminded particularly of St Columba Haggerston and St Peter Vauxhall, two other outstanding buildings in poor neighbourhoods like Clerkenwell was at that time. The church felt that the poorest neighbourhoods should get the best churches.
Our parent church St Phillip Granville Square closed in the 1930s as a result of pastoral reorganisation. Some fittings such as the altarpiece in the St Mary Magdalene Chapel and candlesticks came to Holy Redeemer. St Phillip, which was built by the Victorian rogue architect E.B. Lamb and immortalised in Arnold Bennett’s novel Riceyman Steps, was demolished soon after closure and nothing remains of it, although a block of flats nearby built on the site of its church hall is called St Phillip’s House. The vicarage which was in Holford Square was destroyed in the war.