A friend of mine was temping in town this afternoon on Margaret Street. It’s been a long time since I’ve office temped… The last time was at a major theatre group back before I went to Guildhall. It’s not an entertaining thing to do, temping in an office. Too many people are swept up in the flawed narrative that your notional seniority in the job equates to your ability. We only need to look at the Prime Minister to give the lie to it. But all the morons treat the temp like they’re a moron – failing to comprehend that the temp is happy to be at the bottom of the ladder and has no aspirations to be anywhere else.
I went to meet my friend after work, and arrived early. I don’t often drive into the Congestion Charge zone as it’s too expensive, but it was covered by the temp in exchange for the pick-up. I went for a little explore.
All Saints Church on Margaret Street was built in the 1850’s, to a high standard. It was built in the Victorian Gothic style. You could easily miss it. Margaret Street is pretty low footfall apart from when the whole place is filled with location vans. They do a lot of filming in that church.
I happened on All Saints just as the grey skies were clearing in London for the last few hours of evening. A garden full of pot plants and a wide open door.
You could quite easily miss that there’s a church at all, but there it is and there’s plenty of room inside. When I arrived there was a softly spoken service underway. A reading from John. A prayer for the church and for the world. I joined in. There were only four humans in the building that I could see – one up front doing the talking, two standing in the congregation and me off to the edge wondering if I was going to get struck by lightning. I left when the prayers finished, as I didn’t feel like having a conversation. I just wanted a moment of spirituality. First time I’ve been in a church for worship for months and months.
I’m glad the space is being used so peacefully, there in the heart of London. The reverend seemed a lovely fellow from a distance. I might go back some time now that I know it’s there. It’s wide open and welcoming. There’s plenty of votive art, and some in your face Gothic detail. Butterfield was allowed to express himself and he did. Better all that space is used for something thoughtful – it compares favourably to all the wasted locked rooms and empty embassies and shut down venues in this huge old city. An obscure but gently used Anglo Catholic church in a West End side street. Tick.