Troubador St Mary the Virgin Primrose Hill

Released: 28/01/2022

ISBN: 9781803130224

Format: Paperback

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St Mary the Virgin Primrose Hill

A Church and its People, 1872-2022


St Mary’s is a vibrant London church on the northern edge of Primrose Hill. It is widely known for its fine liturgy and music in the Anglican tradition, its affirmation of women’s ministry, and its pioneering youthwork and social outreach. It was designed by MP Manning and built by Dove Bros of Islington in two stages (1872 and 1892).

This book celebrates the church’s 150th anniversary. It draws on previously untapped archives to chart the history of the building and its worshipping community. The book is split into two parts:

1872-1951 ranges from the church’s origins in the Boys’ Home in Regent’s Park Road to the period of recovery after the Second World War. It is rich in stories: among them St Mary’s part in the Ritualist controversies of the Victorian church; the near collapse of the building through railway tunnelling in the 1870s; the striking innovations of Percy Dearmer (vicar 1901-1915); and the desperate years of the Blitz in the 1940s. 

1952-2022 draws also on the personal memories of today’s congregation, exploring how St Mary’s has become the beacon of hope it is today, and taking stock of its particular place in Christian witness, now and for the future.

St Mary the Virgin Primrose Hill. A Church and its People 1872-2022 (January 2022) has been described by Canon Dr Donald Gray as 'setting the pace for parish histories, without doubt'.

See also the author's Camden History Society lecture, 'New light on St Mary's Primrose Hill', 30 March 2022 on You Tube at

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Christopher Kitching

Dr Christopher Kitching is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the Society of Antiquaries of London. After a career in archives at the Public Record Office and the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts he was appointed CBE in 2004. He is Honorary Archivist of St Mary the Virgin Primrose Hill, London, and a former churchwarden.

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