Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Chapel at House of St Barnabus - Soho W1

Don't you love it when you finally get to see inside somewhere that has always intrigued you?  (Okay - that sounded vaguely obscene - or is it just my dirty mind??)  Anyway - I used to often walk down Manette Street to get from my office in New Oxford St to Soho (avoiding the crush at the Oxford St/TCR intersection) and I always noticed this cute little church on my right, just before you walk throug the passage under the Pillars of Hercules pub and out on to Greek St.  Every time I would wonder if it was a "working" church, who went there, how you got inside (any entrance on Manette St seemed to be blocked up).  Of course with my over-active imagination I pictured some secret sect associated with the Knights Templar holding candelit meetings, plotting world domination.  OK I didn't really imagine that but there was definitely a Da Vinci Code-like vibe going on.  Finally, before Christmas I got to see inside - I was at the swanky temporary club at the House of St Barnabus and went out to the back garden with some smokers to find that the chapel (as it turned out to be) was connected and you could just walk in, which I did.  I found myself all alone in a perfect little 19th century chapel - definitely a moment.  I always think it's cool when you can find tranquility in the middle of a busy city and you certainly don't often find it in Soho but that was exactly what I felt in the chapel at the House of St Barnabus.  Very cool.

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