Historic chapel reopens at St Thomas' Hospital


Posted on Wednesday 10 February 2016
St Thomas' Chapel

St Thomas' Chapel

The historic chapel at St Thomas’ Hospital has been officially reopened and blessed after eight months of painstaking restoration.

The restoration work has preserved the Grade II listed chapel’s unique features, some of which date back to when St Thomas’ Hospital opened on its current site opposite the Houses of Parliament in 1870.

The Right Reverend Nigel Stock, Bishop at Lambeth, carried out the official reopening and blessing of the chapel during a special service on Tuesday 9 February.

He says: “At Lambeth Palace we are very conscious of the vital part our neighbours at St Thomas’ play in the health, well-being and care of huge numbers of people. It is a great privilege to be part of the reopening and blessing of this historic chapel and I pray that it will be a source of blessing and spiritual support for both patients and all those who make up the hospital community.”

Memorials in the chapel remember people who have played important roles in the hospital’s history, including:

  • the terracotta triptych above the altar, a memorial to Sir Henry Doulton
  • the ‘Good Samaritan’ relief by George Tinworth from the Doulton factory in Lambeth, which was created in memory of Sarah Wardroper, matron of St Thomas’ for 33 years
  • a statue of St Thomas Becket, after whom the original hospital at London Bridge was named
  • a memorial to the nurses and junior medical officers who ‘died in the discharge of their duties’
  • a memorial to Florence Nightingale who established the Nightingale Training School at St Thomas’.

Reverend Mia Hilborn, Head of Spiritual Healthcare at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, says: “Patients, staff and visitors have used this chapel as a place for quiet reflection and prayer for nearly 150 years. It’s a privilege for us to be able to share these moments with them in such a beautiful and historic space.”

Sir Hugh Taylor, Chairman of Guy’s and St Thomas’, adds: “The chapel enriches the care of so many people at St Thomas’ Hospital. I am thrilled that, thanks to the support of our generous donors, it will continue to do so for years to come.”

The restoration work was funded by a grant from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity and donations from The Perseverance Trust, the Friends of St Thomas’ Hospital and more than 500 individual donors who were thanked at the service.

Nicola Crane, Head of Arts Strategy at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, says: “The chapel at St Thomas’ Hospital is a unique place that provides a much needed quiet space for worship and reflection. Returning the Chapel to its former splendour, and restoring the historic works of art within it, is part of how the Charity works to preserve the hospitals’ rich heritage and enhance environments for the benefit of patients, staff and visitors.”

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