OratoryChurch.jpg
_MG_0757.jpg
High Altar.jpg
StWilfridsChapel.jpg
Lady Chapel 1.jpg
Calavary Chapel 1.jpg
StMaryMagdalensChapel.jpg
<untitled> 6.jpg
054-Brompton-Oratory-christening-photography-dph.jpg
<untitled> 83.jpg
<untitled> 76.jpg
_MG_0701.jpg
<untitled> 16.jpg
_MG_1019.jpg
Altar Seb.jpg
Dome.jpg
OratoryChurch.jpg

The Tour


Begin your tour of the London Oratory Church here by scrolling down to see it all.

SCROLL DOWN

The Tour


Begin your tour of the London Oratory Church here by scrolling down to see it all.

_MG_0757.jpg

History of the Church


SCROLL DOWN

History of the Church


Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

This famous Roman Catholic church was built between 1880 and 1884. It is the church of the Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri. Popularly but incorrectly known as "Brompton Oratory" it is the second-largest Catholic church in London, with a nave exceeding in width even that of St Paul's Cathedral (Anglican).

St. Philip Neri (1515-1595) founded the Congregation of the Oratory in Rome and it has spread throughout the world, now numbering some seventy houses, and some five hundred priests.  

Soon after converting to Catholicism in 1845, John Henry Newman became an Oratorian and brought St. Philip's Oratory from Rome to England. The first English foundation was in Birmingham, then a further group ofconverts, including Father Frederick William Faber, founded the London Oratory. They began in converted premises, variously described as a whisky store, a gin shopand a dance hall, in King William Street, just off the Strand. After three years a property was found in Brompton on what was then the outskirts of London.  It was a district of fields and lanes, which Fr Faber described as the "Madeira of London". The house was built first, with a temporary church on the present site. To mark the silver jubilee of the founding of the Congregation an appeal was launched in 1874 to raise funds to build the present church.  By March 1876 a design in the Renaissance style had been received from Herbert Gribble, a twenty-nine year old recent convert from Devon.  His design having been judged the winner in a competition he was awarded a prize of £200 by the Fathers.  The foundation stone was laid in June 1880 and the present neo-baroque building was privately consecrated on the 16th April 1884. A few days later Cardinal manning officially opened the Church and preached to a congregation which included 16 bishops and 250 priests. The church had cost £93,000 to build and in the following decade a further £14,000 was spent on the building.

The façade at the South end was not added until 1893 and the outer dome was completed in 1895-96 to a design of George Sherrin.  The last major external work was the erection of the Newman memorial in 1896 (six years after his death).

The architectural style and the atmosphere of the church were deliberately Italianate, in order to bring St. Philip's romanità  to nineteenth century London. The present church was restored and redecorated to celebrate its centenary in 1984.

An Oratory is first and foremost a place of prayer. St. Philip attached great importance to the beauty of divine worship and the power of sacred music to raise our hearts to God, and the Fathers of the London Oratory try to maintain this tradition.

St. Philip was particularly devoted to Our Lady. He used to say "My sons, be devoted to the Madonna." This is why the founding Fathers of the London Oratory wanted their new church to be dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  

St. Philip spent his whole priestly life in Rome, working tirelessly to help people of all types and all backgrounds to come closer to God. He devoted much time to helping the poor and the sick, both spiritually and materially.  He became known as "the apostle of Rome."   May his prayers prosper his continuing work in London.

High Altar.jpg

The High Altar


Originally Herbert Gribble's design for the High Altar included a great baldachino or ciborium.  The High Altar as it is today is however still very impressive standing, as it does, in a sanctuary which is some 70 feet deep. It is ordered for the solemn celebration of the Church's liturgy and has escaped the ravages of some of the re-ordering schemes which followed Vatican II.

The carved choir stalls are inlaid with ivory and together with the elaborately inlaid wooden floor were the gift of Ann, Duchess of Argyll to the first church, completed in 1854. There are two seven-branched candlesticks in the sanctuary. They are modelled on those in the Temple of Jerusalem as pictured on the Arch of Titus. Standing on marble plinths, they were the gift of the Marquis of Bute.

SCROLL DOWN

The High Altar


Originally Herbert Gribble's design for the High Altar included a great baldachino or ciborium.  The High Altar as it is today is however still very impressive standing, as it does, in a sanctuary which is some 70 feet deep. It is ordered for the solemn celebration of the Church's liturgy and has escaped the ravages of some of the re-ordering schemes which followed Vatican II.

The carved choir stalls are inlaid with ivory and together with the elaborately inlaid wooden floor were the gift of Ann, Duchess of Argyll to the first church, completed in 1854. There are two seven-branched candlesticks in the sanctuary. They are modelled on those in the Temple of Jerusalem as pictured on the Arch of Titus. Standing on marble plinths, they were the gift of the Marquis of Bute.

StWilfridsChapel.jpg

St Wilfrid's Chapel


The altar in St Wilfrid's Chapel is in the Flemish Baroque style and dates from the first half of the eighteenth century.  It was originally the High Altar in the monastic church of St Remy at Rochefort in Belgium.  It came to the oratory from St Servatius' church in Maastricht, Holland having been taken there in 1811 following the suppression of St Remy. The whole chapel was given by Mrs Bowden as a memorial to Father Faber, first Provost of the London Oratory. The body of Father Faber who died in 1863 was burried in the floor before the altar of this chapel in 1952. Father Faber had chosen St Wilfrid as his patron.

St Wilfrid's chapel also contains the altar of the English Martyrs.  Above the altar is the only known religious painting by Rex Whistler.  In the form of a triptych, it shows SS Thomas More and John Fisher on either side with an execution scene at Tyburn in the centre. SS Thomas More and John fisher were canonised in 1935 and the Fathers commissioned this painting in 1938 to commemorate the event.

SCROLL DOWN

St Wilfrid's Chapel


The altar in St Wilfrid's Chapel is in the Flemish Baroque style and dates from the first half of the eighteenth century.  It was originally the High Altar in the monastic church of St Remy at Rochefort in Belgium.  It came to the oratory from St Servatius' church in Maastricht, Holland having been taken there in 1811 following the suppression of St Remy. The whole chapel was given by Mrs Bowden as a memorial to Father Faber, first Provost of the London Oratory. The body of Father Faber who died in 1863 was burried in the floor before the altar of this chapel in 1952. Father Faber had chosen St Wilfrid as his patron.

St Wilfrid's chapel also contains the altar of the English Martyrs.  Above the altar is the only known religious painting by Rex Whistler.  In the form of a triptych, it shows SS Thomas More and John Fisher on either side with an execution scene at Tyburn in the centre. SS Thomas More and John fisher were canonised in 1935 and the Fathers commissioned this painting in 1938 to commemorate the event.

Lady Chapel 1.jpg

The Lady ALTAR


The Lady Altar originally stood in the Chapel of the Archconfraternity of the Rosary in the Dominican church in Brescia.  In the nineteenth century the church was demolished and its contents put on the market.  By a happy chance it was discovered by Father Keogh who had it transported to England and with some re-arrangement erected in time for the opening of the Oratory church. The statue on the right is of St Pius V, a contemporary of St Philip Neri; that on the left is St Rose of Lima, the first canonised saint of the New World.

The statue of Our Lady, known as Our Lady of Victories, is not part of the original altar but rather dates back to the earliest days of the Oratory in King William Street, London.  The Madonna and child have always been traditionally vested in cope and crown.

SCROLL DOWN

The Lady ALTAR


The Lady Altar originally stood in the Chapel of the Archconfraternity of the Rosary in the Dominican church in Brescia.  In the nineteenth century the church was demolished and its contents put on the market.  By a happy chance it was discovered by Father Keogh who had it transported to England and with some re-arrangement erected in time for the opening of the Oratory church. The statue on the right is of St Pius V, a contemporary of St Philip Neri; that on the left is St Rose of Lima, the first canonised saint of the New World.

The statue of Our Lady, known as Our Lady of Victories, is not part of the original altar but rather dates back to the earliest days of the Oratory in King William Street, London.  The Madonna and child have always been traditionally vested in cope and crown.

Calavary Chapel 1.jpg

The Calvary Chapel


SCROLL DOWN

The Calvary Chapel


StMaryMagdalensChapel.jpg

ST Mary MagdalenE's CHAPEL


SCROLL DOWN

ST Mary MagdalenE's CHAPEL


<untitled> 6.jpg

ST PatricK'S CHAPEL


The Chapel of St Patrick is noteworthy for the two wood panels each side of the altar.  They are Mannerist paintings of very refined composition showing the Circumcision and the Presentation. The painitings are attributed to the Flemish painter Frans Floris (c. 1517-70).

SCROLL DOWN

ST PatricK'S CHAPEL


The Chapel of St Patrick is noteworthy for the two wood panels each side of the altar.  They are Mannerist paintings of very refined composition showing the Circumcision and the Presentation. The painitings are attributed to the Flemish painter Frans Floris (c. 1517-70).

054-Brompton-Oratory-christening-photography-dph.jpg

The BaptiSTERY


The Baptistery is decorated in an austere fashion imitating the effect of Florentine pietra dura. The octagonal font in red breccia marble is a half scale reproduction of the one in Orvieto Cathedral.

SCROLL DOWN

The BaptiSTERY


The Baptistery is decorated in an austere fashion imitating the effect of Florentine pietra dura. The octagonal font in red breccia marble is a half scale reproduction of the one in Orvieto Cathedral.

<untitled> 83.jpg

Sacred Heart Chapel


SCROLL DOWN

Sacred Heart Chapel


<untitled> 76.jpg

ST Joseph's Chapel


SCROLL DOWN

ST Joseph's Chapel


_MG_0701.jpg

Chapel of the Seven Dolours


Like many others in the church, this altarpiece was designed by Gribble.  It is in a severe black and white scheme and frames a full-length painting of Our Lady of Sorrows. Father Faber commissioned the painting from Ferenc Szoldatics (1820--1916), a Hungarian painter of the Nazarene School.

SCROLL DOWN

Chapel of the Seven Dolours


Like many others in the church, this altarpiece was designed by Gribble.  It is in a severe black and white scheme and frames a full-length painting of Our Lady of Sorrows. Father Faber commissioned the painting from Ferenc Szoldatics (1820--1916), a Hungarian painter of the Nazarene School.

<untitled> 16.jpg

The Pulpit


The baroque pulpit billows out into the nave, between the Seven Dolours Chapel and St Philip's Altar. It dates from 1930 and is the work of Commendatore Formilli, who is also responsible for much of the mosaic work in the building.

SCROLL DOWN

The Pulpit


The baroque pulpit billows out into the nave, between the Seven Dolours Chapel and St Philip's Altar. It dates from 1930 and is the work of Commendatore Formilli, who is also responsible for much of the mosaic work in the building.

_MG_1019.jpg

The ALTAR of ST Philip Neri


St Philip's Altar designed by Gribble, was the gift of the Duke of Norfolk and bears the arms of the Howard family. The painting is a copy of Guido Reni's original in St Philip's room at the Chiesa Nuova in Rome. A wax effigy of the saint, dressed in Eucharistic vestments, lies beneath the altar and is exposed for view on Tuesdays.

SCROLL DOWN

The ALTAR of ST Philip Neri


St Philip's Altar designed by Gribble, was the gift of the Duke of Norfolk and bears the arms of the Howard family. The painting is a copy of Guido Reni's original in St Philip's room at the Chiesa Nuova in Rome. A wax effigy of the saint, dressed in Eucharistic vestments, lies beneath the altar and is exposed for view on Tuesdays.

Altar Seb.jpg

Altar of Blessed SebastiaN VALFRÉ


This Altar is situated in a recess between the Sanctuary and the Sacristy door and is dedicated to Blessed Sebastian Valfré (1629-1710), a priest of the Oratory in Turin, who was beatified in 1834.

SCROLL DOWN

Altar of Blessed SebastiaN VALFRÉ


This Altar is situated in a recess between the Sanctuary and the Sacristy door and is dedicated to Blessed Sebastian Valfré (1629-1710), a priest of the Oratory in Turin, who was beatified in 1834.

Dome.jpg

Dome


SCROLL DOWN

Dome