The St John’s School community are deeply saddened to see the news of the devastating fire at St Mark’s Church in Hamilton Terrace, St John’s Wood.
"As a community, we send our heartfelt thoughts to those affected by the fire, including Kate Harrison, vicar of St Mark's since 2015. As our first home it holds a special place in the School's history and we will reflect on the part it played in our evolution over the coming days when we gather together in Chapel."Rebecca Evans, Acting Head
Eighty firefighters were deployed at 11.20pm on Thursday to battle the blaze at the 177-year-old church and save the remains of this beautiful “architectural and historical treasure”. It is one of the landmarks of the area and The National Churches Trust are hopeful that some of the precious interior decoration including the stunning mosaics and memorials can be salvaged and reused if the church can be rebuilt. No injuries have been reported and the exact cause of the fire remains unknown at this stage.
The church holds huge significance to our history; consecrated in June 1847, our connection began in 1851, when St John’s School was founded there by Reverend Ashby Haslewood with the dual purpose of offering free education to the sons of poor clergymen and to provide a choir for his large church. The first headmaster was the Reverend Anthony Thomson (headmaster 1852-1857), curate of St Mark’s and the first eight boys, known as ‘Foundationers’, joined the School in January 1852.
In 1935, at the School’s current Leatherhead location, a new building with 14 classrooms three laboratories and two lecture theatres was opened on the site of the old kitchen garden, named The Hamilton Building in memory of the School’s first home in Hamilton Terrace. Haslewood House, host to one of our girls’ houses, is named after Reverend Ashby Haslewood.
Image of St Mark’s Church and Archive Document, courtesy of St John’s School Archives
Images of St Mark’s Church mosaics and windows: © ‘St Mark’s Hamilton Terrace NW8’ Facebook
Image of St John’s School grounds, showing Hamilton Building top left of image.