Wandering around London I tend to keep my eyes either watching the ground for any curious manhole covers or the like – or looking around the tops to see what might catch my attention.

Sometimes, one of those things is a church that would once have dominated an area, but is now crammed in behind buildings and barely visible from main roads save by happy accident.

The Parish Church of St. Alban the Martyr, Holborn is such a venue.

It is a building of two lives, as the exterior is a classic Victorian Anglo Catholicism design, built by a leading architect of the day, William Butterfield in 1863. However, the interior, instead of the wonderful gloomy interior I was expecting, is actually a very modern minimalist design.

You can thank some German bombs for that abrupt transformation as the church was almost destroyed on the night of 16thApril 1941.

It was eventually rebuilt and consecrated (again) in 1961, so this year marks the 50th anniversary of its resurrection from the flames of war. The actual anniversary celebration will be on Friday 17th June.

The Parish Church of S. Alban the Martyr, Holborn

Anyhow, as I saw it and also noticed that the door was open I went inside for a look around and, if it was empty/no one minded, to take some photos.

Normally, when in a Church or any building with strong contracts such as gloomy interiors and just windows for lighting, I tend to take HDR photos as they can capture the most detail.

Unlike some HDR enthusiasts I set the conversion ratio to realistic, or even clinically accurate instead of going for “maximum dramatic effect” mode, but occasionally I like to play around a bit.

I hope the photos, which are more atmospheric than I usually aim for – especially the one above – do not offend the anti-HDR photographers too much.

A typical (for the era) Church entrance

Main nave
Lawks – what an impressive interior – the mural is by Hans Feibusch

Simple interiorHaving lost the original stained glass windows, the Stations of the Cross are depicted as paintings instead.

Remaining burial
The one ornate burial inside the church that survived the blitz.


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  1. Sue says:

    It looks amazing: am going to go see it for myself.
    Your first photo looks like something the Dr Who special effects team would have come up with 😉

  2. Graeme Ellis says:

    It truly looks a magnificent place more like a Cathedral than a Church

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