Announcement expected on re-naming of Middlesex Hospital Chapel

The Middlesex Hospital Chapel could be re-branded with a new name despite a campaign to preserve its historical title. The Grade II* listed chapel — the only complete remains of the Middlesex Hospital — is to be given a new name by its trustees: The Fitzrovia Chapel. However, the final decision over the re-naming of the historic building lies with Westminster City Council.

The Middlesex Hospital Chapel as seen after the hospital was demolished.

The Middlesex Hospital Chapel as seen after the hospital was demolished.

Property developers Exemplar, who are restoring the chapel as part of a 106 agreement tied to planning permission for a residential and commercial development at Fitzroy Place on the site of the former hospital, are known to be reluctant to retain the words Middlesex and Hospital because, in their view, future occupiers wouldn’t welcome fact that the site used to be a hospital. Three local residents including the chairman of a local community centre have agreed to be the founding trustees of the newly named Fitzrovia Chapel Foundation. A new website has gone live giving information about the chapel. However an official announcement has yet to be made.

In April this year Councillor Robert Davis, deputy leader of Westminster City Council, wrote to Fitzrovia News saying a name change would have to be officially approved: “Once Trustees have agreed upon a name, it has to be submitted to the City Council for our approval under Part ll of the London Building (Amendmen) Act 1939. lt is my sincere hope that the Trustees take into account local views before submitting an application,” he wrote.

Middlesex Hospital Chapel is what English Heritage and Westminster City Council call the building. The chapel has a rich and important history, contains World War 1 memorials and was where Rudyard Kipling was laid to rest before his funeral at Westminster Abbey.

Fitzrovia News discovered that in June a private limited company was set up called “The Fitzrovia Chapel Foundation” (company number 09074417). According to the articles of incorporation the company is also to be registered as a charity. The company documents have been prepared by lawyers at Exemplar’s behest. The Company membership is limited to its trustee-directors (minimum of three and no more than seven). The three founding trustee-directors have been established and are Edward Turner, Wendy Shillam and Claire-Louise John. They are all Fitzrovia residents, but none of them were signatories to the Fitzrovia News petition to preserve the name Middlesex Hospital Chapel. The petitions have more than 3,000 supporters. Fitzrovia News has asked Exemplar and the three trustees for a comment but they have declined at this stage.

Fitzrovia News understands that an official announcement and statement will be made on behalf of The Fitzrovia Chapel Foundation in the near future.

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