New additions include a marble apse, a new baptistry chapel housing relic images, and an extensive underground fit-out – industrial kitchen, prayer room, classroom, offices and a community room.
The church organ is still being restored, and money is now being raised for the purchase and installation of six specially-designed stained glass windows.
St Patrick’s, consecrated in 1792, was one of the first Catholic churches built in England after the English Reformation. The original St Patrick’s was a smaller chapel attached to Carlisle House, which was built on the site in 1690 for Edward Howard, 2nd Earl of Carlisle. Carlisle House was occupied in the 1750s by an upholsterer, envoys to the Kings of Naples and Denmark, and was let to Teresa Cornelys (1723 – 1797) in 1760.
A European singer, entertainer and courtesan, Cornelys was famous for an affair with Casanova (1725 – 1798), below right, which resulted in the birth of a daughter. When lavish balls, operas and the high life of Soho Square forced her into bankruptcy, Carlisle House’s owners sought to maintain its social aura by transforming the space into the Academy of Sciences and Belles Lettres, with a weekly debating series, the School of Eloquence, thrown in for good measure.
The house was finally demolished in 1891 to make way for St Patrick’s church as we know it today.
Besides traditional religious services, the church runs a regular open house for the homeless, where they can eat, socialise, learn to cook, and access services like drug addiction counselling.
To read the church’s illustrated history booklet in pdf format, click here.
For more information on Carlisle House and Teresa Cornelys, click here.