How we built our past and present

334

After sharing his cloak with a beggar and Jesus appearing to him in a dream, Roman soldier.Martin is baptised in the Christian faith.
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1222

First reference to the “Church and burial-place of St Martin”, probably used by the monks of Westminster farming the land that is now Covent Garden.
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1536

King Henry VIII creates the new parish of ‘Saynte Martyns-yn-the-Ffelds’
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1665

Great Plague spreads throughout England – many victims are buried in St Martin’s graveyard
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1687

Charles II’s mistress, Nell Gwyn, is buried in the crypt of St Martin’s. She bequeaths £100 ‘for the poor of St Martin’s and St James’.
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1699

High school for Girls founded to compliment Archbishop Tenison’s School for Boys.
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1710

Survey of the church reveals that walls are built of rubble and can no longer support the roof - picture source: British History Online
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1726

James Gibbs’ new St Martin-in-the Fields is completed at a cost of £36,000.
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1726

King George I pays for the new organ, allegedly to salve his conscience when he resigns as churchwarden. Handel plays it in the opening recital.
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1728

James Gibbs publishes his Book of Architecture, a folio of his designs, which becomes the pattern book for many church builders .
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1830

Architect John Nash designs a terrace of three buildings; Vicarage, Vestry Hall and school, to be built to the north of the church.
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1830 - 1845

New National Gallery and Nelson's Column are designed in a way that does not obstruct St Martin-in-the Fields.
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1914

Revd Dick Sheppard becomes Vicar of St Martin’s
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1916

Dick Sheppard opens church and crypt day and night to provide food and shelter for troops on their way to and from France.
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1924

First live broadcast of a religious service takes place from St Martin’s.
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1927

Revd Dick Sheppard broadcasts first Vicar’s Christmas Appeal.
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1938

Queen Mary, wife of George V, is the last monarch to use the Royal Box.
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1940

Bomb explodes on Duncannon Street blowing out many of the church’s stained-glass windows.
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1940

The Vaults under the church are used as an air-raid shelter, while also housing a canteen.
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1948

St Martin’s social work expands with founding of Social Care Unit (picture taken at a later date)
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1949

John Churchill, Organist and Master of Music, establishes free lunchtime concerts in the church's crypt by young professional musicians.
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1957 - 1958

First Christian Aid Week was held at St Martin’s.
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1958

Academy of St Martin in the Fields is founded by Sir Neville Marriner and Jack (John) Churchill, Master of Music.
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1961

After reading an article about unjust imprisonment , Peter Benenson comes to St Martin’s seeking peace and quiet, and conceives Amnesty International.
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1964

Revd S Y Lee comes to St Martin’s to care for London’s growing Chinese community and begins a weekly service in Cantonese.
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1964

VC & GC Remembrance & Re-dedication Services held at St Martin's (pictures taken late 90's).
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1966

The first multi-faith Commonwealth Service was held at St Martin-in-the Fields.
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1984

Bishop Ho Ming Wah Chinese Community Centre opens at St Martin’s.
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1987

St Martin’s establishes the Café in the crypt, gift shop and the outdoors craft market to support the work of St Martin-in-the-Fields.
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1994

Archbishop Desmond Tutu dedicates a memorial to the victims of injustice and violence in South Africa to stand inside St Martin’s.
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2002/03

Eric Parry Architects appointed to design the Renewal of St Martin’s and Heritage Lottery Fund awards a grant of £14.69 million.
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2004

St Martin’s Social Care Unit merges with The London Connection to form The Connection at St Martin’s to help homeless people.
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2006

Building work begins celebrated with a Ceremony led by the Bishop of New York and Rabbi Alexandra Wright.
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2008

Completion of the Renewal of St Martin-in-the-Fields.
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2008

Around the handrail that surrounds the light well In Church Path there is part of a poem by Andrew Motion.
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2008

The new East window is installed and marks the final installation of the Renewal Project.
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2012

Café in the Crypt wins Les Routiers “London Café of the Year” award.
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2013

Sunday International Group begins offering support to migrants and refugees in London.
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2014

St Martin in the Fields Action Plan adopted.
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2014

Launch of Sound of St Martins including new choral ensemble, St Martin’s Voices and weekly Great Sacred Music events.
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2015

Launch of Great Sacred Music podcasts
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2015

This year marks the 89th anniversary of The BBC Christmas Appeal on Radio 4.
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Future

Building Futures - keeping our doors open, for always, for everyone
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