The House of St Barnabas in Soho is now offering tours on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, between 9am – 11am. Tours are free and last roughly 25 minutes.
The earliest recorded house on the site was built in the late 1670s, and the current house was completed in 1746, with the interiors finished ten years later.
Residents over the years included various Members of Parliament, assorted aristocrats, the Jamaican plantation-owning Beckford family, and the Metropolitan Board of Works. Civil engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette (1819 – 1891), below, the man responsible for creating the central London sewer network, had his office here.
The Bazalgette Room, below.
The St Barnabas charity took over the building in 1862, and opened the Chapel of St Barnabas in 1864.
The Anglo-Catholic chapel, by architect Joseph Clarke (c.1820 – 1881), was bombed during WWII, sustaining damage to its roof and stained-glass windows.
Besides offering full religious services, the chapel is a venue for music events and film productions – scenes from The Time Traveller’s Wife were shot here.
The current stained-glass windows, designed by John Hayward, depict (from left to right) St Edward the Confessor, St Barnabas, St Paul and St John the Baptist.
The Monroe Room.
The Georgian building’s Grade-1 listing is partly due to the fine Rococo plasterwork in its Drawing Room.
The Garden Room.
St Barnabas House and its little garden are thought to be the inspiration for the lodgings of Dr Manette and Lucy in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870). Accordingly, the council renamed the street leading to St Barnabas Chapel, Manette Street.
Photos by Sven Klinge
(please credit photographer & website when using these photos)
In 2009, Quintessentially Soho installed a “pop-up” private member’s club in St Barnabas House. All interior decoration, furnishings, artworks, alcohol and other start-up costs were donated to the venture by various individuals and companies.
All proceeds from Quintessentially Soho went to the St Barnabas Life Skills Programme for homeless people. This partnership is now on hold until extensive interior renovations have taken place.