HISTORY OF ST PHILIP'S
The church of St Philip’s dates from 1857, when the Vicar of St Barnabas in Addison Road obtained permission to build a new church in what was then the village of Earl’s Court to accommodate his growing parish.
In 1858 the new church was consecrated by the Bishop of London on 1 May, St Philip’s Day. Joseph Claxton, the Curate at St Barnabas, was the first vicar and served until his death in 1877. The Rev Claxton also provided £5,000 towards the cost of the new church. The remaining £1,500 was raised by public subscription.
The church’s most notable external feature is probably its clock. A local landmark, it was added in 1883 and has now been restored to full working order.
St Philip’s suffered some damage during aerial bombing of London in 1940, including the destruction of several of its stained glass windows. These were restored and repaired in the years following World War II.
A service to mark the church’s centenary was held on the Feast of St Philip, 1958. This was attended by, among others, the Bishops of Kensington and Southwark, and Henry, Bishop of London.
Major building work to renovate the church began in 2002 under the leadership of the vicar, Michael Forrest. The church remained open during the 18 months of restoration work. Services were held in what is now the lower hall, despite having no heat, very little lighting and, indeed, no floorboards at certain stages of the rebuilding.
The Rev Michael Forrest retired in June 2004 and St Philip’s church became part of the central Kensington parish, including St Mary Abbots and Christ Church, Kensington following parish boundary changes.
The Rev David Walsh was licensed as our Associate Vicar on 24 July 2006, after a two-year vacancy.
In May 2008 we celebrated our 150th anniversary with concerts, a party and a special service that was led by the Bishop of London.
In September 2016 David Walsh left St Philips to become the Rector of St Peter and St Paul in Kettering.
On 1 January 2017, St Philip’s became the Parish Church of the new Parish of St Philip, Earls Court Road. Prior to this date, our church formed part of the Parish of St Mary Abbots with Christ Church and St Philip, Kensington, and remains linked through a group ministry.
In September 2017 we welcomed The Reverend Pippa Turner as Parish Vicar of St Philip’s church.
Links with other local churches
St Philip’s is linked with St Barnabas, Kensington through St Barnabas and St Philip’s Primary School in Pembroke Mews. The two churches work together to provide services for the school at special times during the academic year. All four churches are also linked through their membership of the Kensington Deanery.
If you are seeking historical records relating to St Philip’s, please contact:
London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, LONDON, EC1R 0HB. Tel: 020 7332 3820
It might help first to visit the London Metropolitan Archives website.