One of London’s genuinely hidden gems, the glittering interior of Fitzrovia Chapel is about to be a lot easier to visit, as the opening hours are being extended ahead of a new David Bowie exhibition.

The Fitzrovia Chapel is the surviving remnant of the Middlesex Hospital, which closed in 2005, and the site cleared, leaving just the hospital chapel standing. The hospital site is now modern offices and homes, but the chapel is still there, and what makes it worth a visit is the remarkable interior.

Although designed in 1891 by the architect John Pearson, it took until 1930 to complete the sumptuously decorated interior. As a chapel, it’s quite small, with a single nave, which you enter through a row of arched doorways.

The style is a mix of Italian and gothic revival, superficially strikingly similar to a Greek Orthodox cathedral, albeit on a tiny scale. And the size helps to create the eyeball-popping experience as there’s not a single unadorned surface in the building.

The chapel opened to the public following restoration in 2015 and has only been open on Wednesday afternoons.

That’s now changing, and will generally be open Monday to Wednesday from 11am to 5pm and also one Sunday a month. The opening days can change if the chapel is needed for something, so always check their what’s on page before making a special trip.

The chapel, in Pearson Square, is a short walk north of Oxford Street halfway between Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road.

Next month it will be even easier to visit though, as the opening hours will be expanded to every day except Mondays, for a short photography exhibition about David Bowie.

The exhibition, David Bowie – A London Day will run from Friday 1st to Wednesday 20th March 2024 and is also free to visit.

The chapel will then revert to its newly extended openings of Mon-Wed each week.

If you’re in the area with a friend, it’s also one of those hidden gems you can drag them around the corner to visit, and you’d never stumble upon it unless you know where to find it — then bask in your friend’s admiration of how you knew about this marvellous little building.


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  1. Paulus says:

    I used to work opposite the now demolished Middlesex Hospital and was exploring the development that replaced it – on a Wednesday afternoon, fortunately – when I stumbled upon it. A treat for the eyes.

  2. Alan Pettengale says:

    As an ambulanceman in the 1980’s I had to go the Middlesex frequently. The chapel truly is breathtakingly magnificent. I don’t know if it is still there, but the walls of the entrance corridor from the main hospital were covered in plaques commemorating nursing and medical staff of the hospital who had died. A frequent cause of death was given as “the morbid sore throat” which I imagine was what cancer was known of in those days.

    • Rosemary Leigh says:

      I think it’s what we now know as diphtheria, which had a 25% mortality rate until the vaccine was developed.

  3. Deirdre Lewis says:

    A Church or Chapel is a place for prayer & meditation.I frequented this gem whilst an impatient at the Middlesex Hospital some years ago.I resent such places considered to be ‘The House Of God’used for anything other than it’s original intention.Because attendance is declining such revered places should not be used for other purposes.

    • ianVisits says:

      The idea that a church is to be exclusively used for prayer and meditation is a very recent one – and not that widely supported when you consider how many churches are used for schools and social events. If you go to medieval times, walk into a cathedral and you’ll be walking into a market place during the week. Liturgically speaking, the altar is the holy space, and the church, even when consecrated, is simply a building to house the altar.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Diedre. I visited the chapel today as I was born in Middlesex Hospital in the early ’60s and wanted to see it.It has no pews and there are no services, as it is no longer consecrated. I feel that it is wonderful that it is still in such wonderful condition and that so many people are still able to visit, whatever their spiritual, religious or non-beliefs are.Hopefully you can look at it in that way.

  4. Mona Massey says:

    Look forward to visiting this hidden gem soon.

    Another hidden gem is the Catholic Church in Droitwich Spa Worcs.

    If you cannot visit in person google

    Sacred Heart & St Catherine of Alexander Droitwich

    and home in on the website. You will not be disappointed.

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