The foundation stone of the Grosvenor Chapel was laid on 7 April 1730 by Sir Richard Grosvenor, 4th Baronet, owner of the surrounding property, who had leased the site for 99 years at a peppercorn rent to a syndicate of four “undertakers” led by Benjamin Timbrell, a prosperous local builder.
The new building was completed and ready to use by April 1731.
John Wilkes' plaque (and his daughter Mary's, below), in the Chapel's upstairs gallery.
Soon after the original 99-year lease ran out in 1829 the chapel was brought within the parochial system as a chapel of ease to St George's, Hanover Square.
During the Second World War men and women of the American armed forces were welcomed to the chapel for their Sunday services, as recorded on a tablet outside the west wall, and after the war the congregation regularly included such people as the writer Rose Macaulay and Sir John Betjeman, Poet Laureate from 1972 until his death in 1984.
Grosvenor Chapel viewed from Aldford St, circa 1949
The simple classical form of the building, a plain rectangular box with two tiers of arched windows in the side walls, at the east a shallow projection for the communion table and at the west a portico over the pavement and a short spire containing a clock and bell to call the faithful to worship, is derived from recently completed churches such as James Gibbs’ St Martin in the Fields or John James’ St George's, Hanover Square. With the aid of these examples and the illustrations in numerous pattern books available at the time a competent builder like Timbrell, who had worked with Gibbs at St. Martin’s, could himself have easily produced the design for the chapel without needing to commission an architect. The Anglo-Catholic liturgical style of the chapel was expressed in the building by the introduction of fittings and adornments by Sir John Ninian Comper in 1912-13.
The organ in Grosvenor Chapel was built by Abraham Jordan and installed in 1732 at the expense of Sir Richard Grosvenor, 4th Baronet. It was altered twice in the 19th century by Bishop, and rebuilt in 1908 by Ingram. In 1930 J. W. Walker and Sons built a new two manual organ incorporating much second-hand pipework both from the old instrument and from elsewhere. This instrument was replaced in 1991 by William Drake, Organ Builder of Buckfastleigh, Devon, who built a new organ in a broadly 18th-century English style.
The chapel enjoys a high standard of music with a resident professional group of five singers and an organist. The group is often augmented with other singers and instrumentalists for special occasions including an orchestra for Easter Day. The choir performs a large range of music from Renaissance to the present day.
There are regular free lunchtime concerts on Tuesdays at 1:10 pm