St Stephen's Church, Rosslyn Hill
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2015)|
St. Stephen's is a former church building in Hampstead, London. It is sited on Rosslyn Hill at its junction with Pond Street, a steep slope adjacent to the Royal Free Hospital, and held up to 1,200 worshippers at its peak.
It was designed in the Neo Gothic style by Samuel Sanders Teulon and he considered it the best of the 114 churches he designed, calling it his "mighty church" – it was also the most expensive of them. He accepted the commission to design it after Sir Thomas Maryon Wilson, Lord of the Manor of Hampstead, offered Hampstead Green to be the site for a new church in 1864. From 1864 to 1867 funds were raised (the projected cost was estimated as £7,500; the final sum was actually £27,000).
Work began in January 1869, with the foundation stone being laid May that year and consecration by John Jackson the Bishop of London occurring on 31 December. It was fully complete by 1870, but was continually prone to subsidence due to its hilly site. By the later 1960s concerns had been raised on structural grounds and, with maintenance costs rising and its congregation declining, it was closed for worship in 1977.
It was saved from demolition to provide a car park for the hospital or being split into flats by being made a Grade I listed building in the late 1970s. However, it went into slow decay, with squatters, whilst discussions for a new used for it dragged on.
A lease on it was awarded to the St Stephen's Restoration and Preservation Trust in 1999 and, after this body raised over £4 million from English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund, local businesses and individual donors, it has restored it to a usable condition in three phases.