History of Emmanuel

A short history and guide to 
Emmanuel Church, West Hampstead

by The Revd Professor Peter Galloway, OBE BA PhD FSA JP


Why is there a church here?

The origin of Emmanuel Church lies in the rapid development of West Hampstead in the second half of the nineteenth century after the arrival of the railways. Previously there had been a few large houses (all now demolished) constituting the hamlet of West End in the parish of Hampstead, and scattered around what is now West End Green. The Hampstead Junction (1860), the Midland (1868) and the Metropolitan Line (1879) each opened a station on West End Lane, and by 1900 the little rural hamlet had been replaced by what you see today, ‘a land of minor late Victorian terraces and mansion flats’. In 1952 the architectural historian Sir Niklaus Pevsner considered that it was worth visiting only by those in search of Victorian churches. ‘The houses and streets’, he wrote, ‘require no notice’. Opinions often change with the passage of time and West Hampstead today is considered a fashionable area in which to live, and the prices of the Victorian terraces and mansion flats, dismissed by Pevsner more than half a century ago, rose sharply in the last decade of the twentieth century. In 1996 West End Lane and its surrounding streets were designated a Conservation Area.

The name ‘West End’ survives in the legal title of the benefice: ‘Emmanuel, West End, Hampstead’, and in the names West End Lane and West End Green, (the small village green can be still be seen adjacent to the grounds at the west end of the church.) The designation ‘Emmanuel Church, West Hampstead’ is now used to reflect the name now commonly used to identify the neighbourhood.

The original hamlet of West End was part of the ecclesiastical parish of St John’s, Hampstead ( St John’s Church stands in Church Row, in Hampstead Village) until 1872. In that year, it was assigned to the new parish of Holy Trinity, Hampstead. Holy Trinity Church stands in Finchley Road opposite the Underground station of the same name, although the original Victorian church was demolished and replaced by the present building in 1978.

When was the church built?

There have been two buildings in West Hampstead with the title ‘Emmanuel Church’. In 1874, the vicar of Holy Trinity, Hampstead organised the erection of a small mission church to serve the people of West End. The church was built of brick and of no great architectural merit; it stood on a plot of land at the corner of Mill Lane and Aldred Road. Ten years later the congregation had outgrown the mission church, which was too small to accommodate the increasing numbers resulting from the continuing rapid development of the neighbourhood. In 1884 it was doubled in size by the construction of an extension. The continuing increase in the population of the area led to the decision that it would be best served by separating it from Holy Trinity and creating a new parish. On 9 May 1885 Emmanuel Church became the parish church of the new parish of West End, Hampstead.

A growing congregation and a new church

The size of the congregation continued to increase, reflecting the continuing development of West Hampstead, and by the early 1890s the church was again too small. Plans were made for the construction of a new church on a more central location. Land was acquired on the east side of the village green, at the junction of the main crossroads of the parish ( West End Lane, Mill Lane, and Fortune Green Road.

At first it was hoped that the mission church might continue to be used with the new church, although the two were only a few hundred yards apart, but it became structurally unsound and was demolished in 1901. Part of the mansion block known as Cholmley Gardens now stands on the site.

The new church

The architect of the new church was J. A. Thomas, of Whitfield and Thomas, 20 Cockspur Street, Charing Cross. Little is known of the architectural practice, although it was responsible for the design of St Mary’s Church, Cuddington, Worcester Park in Surrey.

The foundation stone of the new church was laid on 19 June 1897. The chancel of the new church, flanked by a chapel and organ loft, together with the first four bays of the nave, and the first two floors of a projected tower were constructed and the partly built church was consecrated on 8 October 1898.

The west end had been walled up with a plain brick wall, entrance being by way of a central doorway in the wall. [The foundations of this wall and doorway survive under the present floor and were uncovered during work on the floor in 1993 and again in the major building development works of 2016].

Work stopped in 1898 because of lack of funds but it was decided that enough had been built to warrant consecration of the incomplete building, and it was probably believed that regular use of the unfinished church would stimulate the raising of funds to finish the task.

Construction work began again in August 1902 to add the fifth bay of the nave, the narthex, baptistery and the porches. The completed additions were dedicated on 29 June 1903), giving the church its present appearance. Thoughts of completing the tower continued until after the end of the 1914-18 war, and have been dreamed of from time to time. It remains unfinished, and probably the time is now past for such major construction.

Building redevelopment works to the nave 2016

For nine months from 19 January 2016 the Church was closed for extensive refurbishment and redevelopment works to correct the seriously sinking nave floor designed by our architects, Donald Insall Associates, and carried out by the Gowlain Building Group.  During this time the congregation worshipped on Sunday mornings in the main hall of the Omega Building of Emmanuel School, two minutes walk away from the church in Mill Lane.  Weekday celebrations of the Eucharist took place in the Vicarage dining room.

The parquet nave floor of mixed oak and pine was taken up and excavations to about three feet below surface level.  Thirty four deep pylons were drilled to give a firm based to a steel and concrete reinforced under-floor and a new under floor heating system installed.  To undertake these works the now tired and dilapidated 1968 vestries / community room were demolished.  The two westernmost bays in both the north and south aisles have now been developed into four new community rooms on two floors,constructed in specially fired bricks to match the Victorian tracery of the church, a new kitchen, an accessible WC and shower room and other WCs.  The new upper floors are served by two new quarter spiritual staircases and a new wrought iron screen has been installed across the narthex so that the church can be accessed more readily for prayer when the main body of the church is closed.  The area between the rooms in the westernmost part of the nave has been left clear as a more flexible space for community use and the floor throughout the nave is a solid oak Junkers floor for the most beneficial use with the underfloor heating system.

The Gothic Revival style

Emmanuel Church is one of many hundreds of parish churches that were constructed in urban areas during the course of the nineteenth century. Its brick construction is an indication of its late nineteenth century date. For many years, fashions in church building decreed that churches should be constructed of stone. It was only with the bold use of brick in the distinctive churches of William Butterfield and John Loughborough Pearson, in the second half of the nineteenth century, that brick came into widespread use in the construction of churches.

From about 1840 it became fashionable to build churches in the ‘Gothic Revival’ architectural style, the nineteenth century’s updated revision of the styles of church architecture in use from the eleventh to the fifteenth centuries. There are echoes of this style in the architecture of Emmanuel Church, principally the tall pointed arches (a standard requirement for Gothic Revival) and the narrow lancet windows, typical of ‘Early English’ the earliest style of original Gothic, dating from the eleventh and twelfth centuries. ‘Early English’ was definitely an unfashionable style in the nineteenth century, architects preferring larger windows with elaborate ‘Decorated’ or ‘Perpendicular’ tracery. ‘Decorated’ in particular was considered by the Ecclesiologists to be the ‘perfection’ of the style; ‘Early English’ was dismissed as primitive and ‘Perpendicular’ was considered a sign of the decline of the Gothic style.

The typical feature of the Early English phase is the narrow lancet window, a feature that Emmanuel Church possesses in abundance, compared with the wide traceried windows of the ‘Decorated’ and ‘Perpendicular’ phases.

Emmanuel Church is sometimes described as being ‘basilican’ in plan. A basilica is a rectangular building with a main aisle, two side aisles, a double colonnade, and an apse at the opposite end to the main entrance. This is derived from state and civic architecture in the Roman empire, and was adopted by the earliest Christian churches. Although Emmanuel Church has some elements of a ‘basilica’, other traditional elements, including a coffered ceiling, are missing.


Earliest photographs of Emmanuel Church show a plain domestic wooden garden fence protecting the church gardens on the north and west sides. The fence rotted away many years ago and the present steel railings along the north and west sides of the church grounds were made by Mill Green Forge, Hertfordshire and erected in 1992.


The church is a rectangle with a nave of five bays, lean-to north and south aisles, an apsidal chancel (flanked by an organ chamber to the north and a vestry to the south) and a lean-to narthex and semi-circular baptistery at the west. The main entrance is now through the porch at the northwest corner of the nave.

The north-east (entrance) porch

The porch has a memorial stained glass window of 1904 in the west wall, in memory of Jessie Florence Hall. It depicts an angel robed in a red dalmatic, the vestment of a deacon, bearing an ornamental frame with an appropriate quote (given the location of the window) from Psalm 121, verse 8, The Lord will preserve thy going out and thy coming in.

The Narthex

Doors lead from the porch into the lean-to narthex of three bays with a small semicircular baptistery protruding from the west wall of the central bay.

On either side of the baptistery are two stained glass windows inserted in 2000. The windows were presented to the church in memory of Neville Burston (1929-1999) by his wife Marlene Burston. Neville Burston was born and raised in Hampstead, and was an Alderman of the City of London (for the ward of Farringdon Within) 1971-76. The windows are by Alan Davis of Lythe, Yorkshire, and the following descriptions are by him. The theme of the north window is entitled Star over David’s city. ‘A star in the night sky is the basis for this design, shining above a series of lines and shapes suggesting buildings and arches of the city.’ The south window is entitled Heaven’s light as guide. ‘The design is based around the idea of a journey, either through life or the final journey of the soul into heaven. Abstract shapes and lines suggest a defined pathway leading from the base of the window to the top, going by a crucifix and ending at a golden ball of light vaguely birdlike in shape.’

The Font

Between the two windows, in a semicircular recess stands a stone font on four colonettes of green marble. The font, regrettably covered with white paint many years ago, dates from 1898 and the brass plate on its plinth amusingly records that it was given by ‘the children of the parish’. Presumably they were deprived of their pocket money for several weeks! The elaborate pinnacled oak cover was added in 1902 to commemorate the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra; it is raised and lowered by means of a counter-poise weight.

Apart from the weeks of Eastertide, and those Sundays when a baptism takes place during the Eucharist, the baptistery houses the gold-painted wrought-iron paschal candlestick. This was acquired in 1994 from the redundant (and later demolished) church of St Saviour, Alexandra Park. A new paschal candle is lit each year on Easter Day to celebrate Christ rising from the dead. The candle is lit at each Eucharist throughout Eastertide, and thereafter whenever the sacraments of baptism and confirmation are administered in the church. The parents and godparents are given a lighted candle, lit from the paschal candle, as a symbol of the new life of the newly baptised child.

The Baptistery windows

The three lancets in the baptistery contain memorial glass (1904) depicting various biblical stories with pretty landscape backgrounds, which feature the use of water. From left to right these are: (1) Noah giving thanks to God after the flood (he is holding a representation of the ark in which he travelled, and note the representative collection of animals who travelled with him: the frog, the snake, the lizard and the rhinoceros). This window commemorates the alliteratively named Penry Powell-Palfry who died on 23 August 1902. (2) The baptism of Christ by Saint John the Baptist in the River Jordan (John is shown holding a cross, around which is wrapped a pennant bearing the Latin inscription: Ecce agnus dei (Behold the lamb of God). This window was given by J. A. Thomas, the architect of the church, in memory of Richard Osborne Whitfield, his business partner, who had died on 11 February 1900. (3) Moses and the people of Israel having crossed the Red Sea in the Exodus (note the drowning army of the Egyptian Pharaoh). This window commemorates Frederick Stovell, who died on 13 December 1889.

These three windows are thought to be the work of Herbert Bryans (1856-1925) whose trade mark, a running dog, can be seen in the corner of the Exodus window. Recent opinion suggests that because of bomb damage in the 1939-45 war, much of the glass may be a post war replacement.

The Nave

On moving into the nave (from the Latin navis, meaning ‘ship’), the first comment usually made by visitors is one of astonishment at the size of the interior, of which the exterior gives only a slight indication. There is no obvious explanation for this optical illusion, beyond the fact that the church is shielded by trees at its tallest point on the west, set back from the road, and built on the side of a hill.

In his book The parish churches of London (Batsford, 1966), Basil Clarke says that the interior ‘could qualify for the adjective “handsome”,’ and many would agree with him. The plan is typical of a late nineteenth century lancet-style basilica, in white stock brick with bands of red brick. The nave has lean-to aisles with three-light lancets with brick moulding and a brick dentilled cornice above. The barrel-vaulted open timber roof rests on a clerestory of paired lancets. Below the clerestory, arcades of pointed arches, rested on clustered piers, which divide the nave into five bays.

The two westernmost bays in the south aisle were separated from the church by a plain partition wall in 1968 to provide two vestries. They replaced the two former vestries attached to the northeast of the church, which formed part of the vicarage, but were brought back into Church use in 2008 as a Sunday School room downstairs and a choir rehearsal room upstairs. The 1968 vestries were carpeted and converted into a community room in 2000 to provide space for children during services, and for wider use. The former southwest porch (opposite the main entrance), long disused as an entrance to the church, was developed to house a small washing-up area and toilet.

The nave was originally choked with pews to provide seating for 800 people! The north and south nave aisles were cleared in 1984 to make way for the installation of a Drugasar gas heating system. Pews in the westernmost bay of the nave were removed in 1993 to allow a more flexible use of this area, especially to provide a meeting place for the congregation and audiences at concerts. At the same time, pews were removed from the easternmost area of the nave to provide greater flexibility in the liturgy, and to provide space for the several concerts that take place in the church each year.

The Stations of the Cross

Along the north and south walls are representations of the Stations of the Cross. The word ‘station’ in this context has nothing to do with public transport! It derives from the Latin word statio, meaning either ‘standing still’ or ‘gathering at a place’. The Stations comprise a series of fourteen pictures designed for devotional purposes, depicting incidents in the journey of Christ from his condemnation by Pilate at the conclusion of a farcical trial, to his being laid to rest in the tomb. The stations are numbered by means of Roman numerals and begin by the war memorial at the eastern end of the north aisle, and moving down the north aisle to number VIII (8), then across to the partition wall of the community room, where Stations IX (9) to XI (11) can be seen, and then round into the south aisle for Stations XII (12) to XIV (14). The fourteen Stations are oleographs (oil-painted prints) dating from about 1900. In numerical order the stations depict the following episodes:

I Christ is condemned to death 
II Christ receives the cross 
III Christ falls for the first time 
IV Christ meets his mother 
V Simon of Cyrene is made to bear the cross 
VI A woman wipes the face of Christ 
VII Christ falls for the second time 
VIII Christ meets the women of Jerusalem 
IX Christ falls for the third time 
X Christ is stripped of his garments 
XI Christ is nailed to the cross 
XII Christ dies on the cross 
XIII Christ’s body is taken down from the cross and laid in the arms of his mother 
XIV Christ’s body is laid in the tomb

War memorial (north nave aisle)

On the wall of the easternmost bay of the north aisle, is a stone memorial listing the names of those from the parish who died on active service during the 1914-18 war. It was dedicated in 1921. The wooden shelf below was added in 1922. An oak plaque commemorates those who died in the 1939-45 war.

North-east porch

The doorway adjacent to the war memorial gives access to the base of the intended tower that now functions as a porch. In the centre of the ceiling of this porch can be seen a trap door, designed to allow the hoisting of bells up into a belfry which was never constructed. A spiral staircase gives access to a first floor room. Access to the projected upper floors beyond would probably have been by means of ladders. The two completed stages of the proposed tower are now surmounted by a single bell. From time to time thoughts have been given to completing the tower, but the high cost makes this impracticable without major donations.

The Organ

The oak and glass screen at the eastern end of the north aisle gives access to the organ loft.

The organ is a fine three-manual instrument by J. W. Walker and Sons and was built in 1910; like the tower, it remains unfinished. Although the ‘Great’ and ‘Swell’ manuals are mostly complete, there is no pipe work for the ‘Choir’ manual.

The first three organists of the new church, Martin Shaw (1894-1902), Henry Cope Colles (1903-06) and Harold Darke (1906-11), became prominent church musicians. The specifications for the organ were drawn by Sir Henry Walford Davies (1869-1941), Master of the King’s Music 1934-41. Walford Davies was a parishioner at the time.

The Pulpit

Passing from the north aisle back into the nave, the visitor passes the plain Gothic-carved oak pulpit of 1901, given in memory of Mandell Creighton (Bishop of London 1897-1901), who died in that year, and who had laid the foundation stone of the church in 1897. The oak tester above was presented in 1949 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the wedding of Sir Harry and Lady Pritchard, married at Emmanuel Church in 1899. Their daughter Enid Pritchard was churchwarden 1973-92 and died in 1997.

The Lectern

On the south side of the bay is the brass eagle lectern presented by Mary Ellen Edwards in 1898 in memory of her brother, and to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in the previous year. The lectern is typical of a style that was produced in large quantities in the nineteenth century. The eagle is the symbol of St John the Evangelist, author of the fourth gospel, whose theology is supposed to ‘soar’ over the rest of the New Testament.

The statue of Christ of the Divine Compassion

The statue of Christ was presented to the church in 1997 and dedicated on Ascension Day that year by the Bishop of Edmonton. It was made about 1900 by the Bavarian company of Mayer of Munich, who were famous for the high quality church furnishings that they produced throughout the nineteenth century. The plinth on which it stands, was made in 1997. The iron candlesticks were presented to the church in 1971 and formerly stood in the sanctuary flanking the altar. The iron votive candle stand was presented in memory of Dorothy Gifford (1926-1993).

The statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, dating from the early twentieth century was given to Emmanuel in 2011 by the Sisters of the Benedictine Community of St Mary-at-the-Cross at Edgware Abbey when they moved into their newly converted Convent.  For many years it stood in their chapter room in the main Abbey building.   It is a depiction of Mary, the God-bearer, as described in Revelation 12:1 “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars”.  The statue used to stand in their Chapter Room where, for many years, they came together to be attentive to God’s will for their Community.  Fr Jonathan (Vicar of Emmanuel between 2008 and 2022) presided at the Eucharist at the Abbey every Tuesday, and the statue is a lovely link between the Church and the Sisters of the Community.

The Chancel

The chancel is entered by a flight of three steps (covered with white paint until 1994) in the centre of the septum, the low screen that divides the chancel from the nave. The chancel has a polychrome tiled floor, and oak choir stalls carved in the Gothic style. The lamps were added to the choir stalls in 1977 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Icon of the Holy Family

The icon of the Holy Family (or as depicted on the icon in Greek “the holy household”) was given in 2010.  It shows Jesus, Mary and Joseph, probably in their home in Nazareth and the parental care given to Jesus during his childhood.

The Sanctuary

The chancel ends in a polygonal apse, and has a vestry on the south side and the organ chamber on the north side. The arcades on each side do not match; a large single arch leads into the organ chamber, from which the pipes emerge into the chancel, protected by the finely carved organ case of 1914. On the south side of the chancel, smaller twin arches lead into the vestry. The steel ties that can be seen at the capital level of the piers were inserted in 1929-30 as part of a scheme to deal with the subsidence that had caused cracks in the walls of the apse.

The Altar rails

The sanctuary is separated from the chancel by two oak communion rails and gates, installed in 1959-60, replacing earlier pitch pine rails. The north rail was presented in memory of John Greenlaw, to commemorate his fifty years of service to the parish (1905-1955). The south rail was presented in memory of Amy Pritchard, who was a member of the congregation 1890-1956. This is the same Lady Pritchard whose golden wedding was commemorated by the tester above the pulpit.

Altar rails were introduced into churches in the seventeenth century, to protect the altar from the attentions of dogs. Only very much later did they come to be regarded as an aid to assist communicants in the process of kneeling to receive the sacrament. There is no theological requirement that communicants should kneel.

The Altar and the Aumbry

At the centre of the apse is the altar, which lies at the heart of Christian worship. By its raised position and adornment, it is the obvious focal point of the church. At this altar, the Eucharist is celebrated each Sunday as a dramatic brining into the present of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary, his resurrection and ascension. We do this in obedience to his last request: ‘Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the centre of the gradine (shelf) behind the altar, and beneath the carved oak reredos, can be seen the aumbry (or tabernacle), surmounted by a crucifix, and veiled in the liturgical colour of the season. The aumbry houses the reserved sacrament, the hosts, consecrated at the Eucharist each Sunday, which are ‘reserved’ for those who, through illness of infirmity, are unable to make their communion in church and receive the sacrament at home or in hospital during the week.

The Sanctuary Lamp

Suspended from the chancel roof can be seen a brass sanctuary lamp, in which a light burns constantly to indicate the presence of the reserved sacrament. Nothing is known of the origin of the lamp, which previously hung in another (unknown) church, beyond its inscription: To the glory of God and in proud memory of Digby Gwynne Griffith July 2nd 1918 RIP. From his mother, sister and friends. The wording and the date indicate that the lamp was probably given as a war memorial. In its present position since 1996, it was given to Emmanuel Church, in memory of Robert and Clive, the stillborn sons of Freda and John Kitchen. The following prayer was used at its dedication: O heavenly Father, who revealed to us the vision of your Son in the midst of the lampstands, and of your Spirit in seven lamps of fire before your throne: Grant that this lamp, to be kindled for your glory, may be to us a sign of your presence in this holy sacrament, and the promise of eternal light; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Reredos and Hangings

The reredos to the altar includes a carved representation of the Last Supper, flanked by the words of the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer on the north side and the Ten Commandments on the south side. The central carving depicts the final farewell meal of Jesus and his disciples, at which the Eucharist was instituted, and commemorated each year on Maundy Thursday. The reredos, carved by A. Robinson, was erected in 1908, the result of donations from the congregation; a list of the names of those who donated the cost can be seen in the vestry on the south wall. The hangings on either side of the altar were made in 1992, as part of the general refurbishment of the sanctuary. The red/gold side is most often seen, but the hangings are reversed in Advent and Lent to display the more sombre aspect of plain linen adorned only with purple orphreys.

The Apse Windows

The apse is lit by five tall lancet windows, of which three have stained glass of 1903 depicting (from left to right) the nativity of Christ at Bethlehem, his crucifixion on the hill of Calvary, and the appearance of the risen Christ to Saint Mary Magdalene in the garden of Gethsemane. The glass is the work of Charles Kempe (1837-1907), a prominent stained glass artist of his time. His work can be seen in many of the churches that were built during the nineteenth century.

The Apse Floor

The floor presents a striking appearance. It is laid out in a mosaic of black, white, green, yellow, salmon and ox-blood coloured marbles in art nouveau patterns of stylised foliage and flower heads within geometric borders. A carpet and generations of ingrained dirt, were removed in 1992 to reveal the full beauty of the floor.

South Chancel Aisle (Sacristy)

This area on the south side of the chancel (which is not normally open), was formerly a chapel, re-furnished in 1952 partly by a donation from Frank Salisbury (1874-1966), an artist who enjoyed a considerable reputation in the years between the two world wars. He presented the two stained glass windows (depicting Saint Matthew and Saint Mark), the reredos above the altar, and a painting of Christ, entitled The light of the world, now on the south wall. The altar remains in position beneath the reredos, though the dais on which it formerly stood was removed in 1996.

The chapel had been disused as such for many years and in 2000 the pews were removed and the area was carpeted and converted into a much-needed Sacristy, to replace the multi-purpose rooms installed in 1968 with the building of the new Vicarage.  The Sacristy is used to store a number of items including the vestments, Eucharistic vessels and frontals of the high altar and the high-backed chair used by visiting bishops. It is carved with a mitre, below which are the armorial bearings of the Diocese of London. The chair was acquired in 1994 from the redundant church of St Barnabas, Temple Fortune.

The railings along the north and west sides of the vestry were made by Mill Green Forge of Hertfordshire, and installed in 2001 for security reasons.

South Nave Aisle

At the eastern end of the north aisle is a glass case containing an attractively carved representation of the Last Supper. Its origin is unknown, but it was formerly the property of Henry Cadbury-Brown (died 1925) and was presented to the church by his daughter Edyth in 1926. The plinth bears a rather grim quotation, in Latin, from the gospel of John, chapter 13, verse 21: amen dico vobis, quia unus vestrum me traditurus est. (Truly, truly I tell you, that one of you will betray me).

Between the thirteenth and fourteenth Stations of the Cross is a memorial tablet to George and Elizabeth Cuthbertson erected by their children in 1921. The church is largely devoid of memorials, and it suggests that the Cuthbertsons, who were active members of the congregation in the early years of the church, must have been very well liked.

Nazareth Chapel

In 2017, the former Vicar’s study/office, having been a vestry in the original church building, but incorporated into the new Vicarage when it was built in 1968, was converted into a Daily Prayer Chapel called the Nazareth Chapel.  The Chapel houses an image of Our Lady of Walsingham, a copy of that which is in the Holy House of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, where a lamp burns for Emmanuel Church and School.  The Chapel is used for the Daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer and for the midweek celebrations of the Holy Eucharist.  It is intentionally a place of prayer, stillness and quiet at the heart of the vibrant community of West Hampstead and is accessed off the north east porch through the single arched door under the bell tower.

 Curates-in-charge of the mission district of West End

The Revd Henry Sharpe [c.1870-1873]

The Revd Edward Bickersteth [1873-1875]

The Revd J. B. Gordon [1875-1876]

The Revd Arthur A. Farnall [1876-1882]

The Revd Edmund Davys [1882-1885]


Vicars of the Parish of Hampstead – Emmanuel – West End


The Reverend Edmund Davys MA [1885-1894]

[b.1822 d.1901]

instituted and inducted 9 May 1885

The Reverend Ernest Sharpe MA [1894-1908] 
[b.1867 d.1949]
instituted 24 July 1894, inducted 1 August 1894

subsequent ministry
Vicar of St Paul, Kersal, Manchester 1908-1912
Vicar of Holy Trinity, Marylebone 1912-1920
Archdeacon of London 1920-1947

The Reverend Dundas Harford MA [1908-1920] 
[b.1858 d.1953] 
instituted and inducted 26 October 1908

subsequent ministry 
Rector of Sculthorpe, Norfolk 1920-1926

The Reverend Percy Gordon MA [1920-1925] 
[b.1874 d.1963] instituted and inducted 18 December 1920

subsequent ministry Vicar of St Jude, South Kensington 1925-1930 
Vicar of St James, Paddington 1930-1935 
Rector of Bradfield with Buckhold 1935-1948 
Rural Dean of Bradfield 1943-1948

The Reverend Cecil Norman DeVine MA MC [1926-1945]b. 1883  d.1960] instituted and inducted 7 January 1926

subsequent ministry 
Vicar of Christ Church, Totland Bay, Isle of Wight 1945-1954

The Reverend John (Jack) Neville Hoare LLB [1946-1955] 
[b.1906 d.1978] 
instituted and inducted 16 January 1946

subsequent ministry 
Rector of St Helen, Ore, Sussex 1956-1960 
Vicar of St Andrew, Burgess Hill, Sussex 1960-1968

The Reverend Jack Dover Wellman MA [1956-1989] 
[b.1917 d.1989] 
instituted and inducted 30 April 1956 
died in office

The Reverend Professor Peter Galloway OBE BA PhD FSA JP [1990-2008] 
Priest-in-charge 1990-1995 
licensed 7 November 1990 
instituted 19 May 1995 
inducted 25 May 1995 
Area Dean of North Camden 2002-2007

subsequent ministry Chaplain of the RVO, Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy, Duchy of Lancaster

The Reverend Jonathan Kester BA FRSA [2008-2022]

[b. 1966]  Priest in charge 2008-2013 [licensed 10 October 2008].   Instituted and inducted as Vicar of the Parish 10 May 2013.

Assistant Director of Ordinands, Diocese of London, 2008 to 2016, Area Dean of North Camden, 2016 to 2020.Area Dean of South Camden 2018 to 2020 Area Dean of Camden from 2020 to 2022.  Also Priest in Charge of St Cuthbert’s, West Hampstead from 2016 to 2022

subsequent ministry: Vicar of St Peter’s, Pimlico with Christchurch, Westminster from 2022 (known as St Peter’s, Eaton Square)

The Reverend Dr Catriona Laing [2023-Current]

Dr Catriona Laing was installed as the Vicar of Emmanuel in September 2023.