St. Luke, Chelsea
In the early 19th century, the original Chelsea Parish Church (now known as Chelsea Old Church) was becoming too small for a rapidly increasing population. As part of the national church extension scheme, the parish built four new churches between 1820 and 1850, all designed in the Gothic style favoured by the High Church. The first of these was St Luke’s, the first Gothic Revival church to be built in London and designed by James Savage, one of the foremost contemporary authorities on mediaeval architecture. It was designed to make a statement, using golden Bath stone and with a flying-buttressed exterior based on King's College Chapel, Cambridge. The grand scale reflected the wealth of the Chelsea parishioners, who provided almost all of the funding. It took four years to build and was consecrated in 1824.
The tower at 142ft is one of the great landmarks of Chelsea and dominates Sydney Street. The nave at 60 ft is the tallest of any parish church in London. The church, which can seat over 850 people, is set in a spacious square and makes a striking contrast to the red brick of Royal Brompton Hospital across the road.
The first rector was the brother of the Duke of Wellington. Charles Dickens was married here in 1836, two days after the first publication of the Pickwick Papers; the rector at that time was the father of author Charles Kingsley. The church was used to film some of the scenes in the 1995 Disney remake of the film ‘101 Dalmatians’.