This impressive Grade I listed late Georgian church, now deconsecrated, has been meticulously restored and creatively re-purposed to provide a vibrant cultural hub and community market in the heart of Mayfair. Once a place of assembly for religious worship, its community use is now being achieved through communal eating.
St. Marks along North Audley Street, retains both its Georgian and Victorian elements expressed side by side. The imposing Greek Rival entrance of JP Gandy’s original building completed in 1825-28 has stood closed to the general public since 1974 when the church was deconsecrated. By 1998, Historic England had placed the ailing building on the Heritage at Risk Register.
Since being deconsecrated, this imposing façade had remained remote from the activities of the busy North Audley Street, with the introduction of a retail and community kitchen, it is now reactivated; relating better to its surroundings.
The main body of the Mayfair church was remodelled in 1878 by Sir Arthur Blomfield in a polychromatic Romanesque style. The significance of this Grade I listed building, lies both in its Regency exterior and plan form, and its Romanesque Victorian interiors. Replete with memorial plaques and stain glass windows, the church also has an interesting crypt complete with mort locks once used to accommodate coffins before removing them to one of the many Victorian cemeteries 1850 Metropolitan Interments Act.
Donald Insall Associates worked with Grosvenor to repair and restore all of the church’s historic features, whilst sensitively weaving structure and services through the existing fabric to increase the back of house space for the new retail and restaurant areas. Roof repairs increased environmental performance whilst enabling a safe means of access for maintenance.
The completed building with its stained glass windows, polychromatic brickwork, mosaics, reredos, gilding and tapestries provides a resplendent environment for local residents and diners, whilst demonstrating the ethos of the operator Mercato, whose aim is to nurture the local community’s affection for special parts of urban history.
The project was recently ‘Highly Commended’ at the London Planning Awards 2020, in the Heritage and Culture category.