VICARS OF ALL SAINTS
1861-1885Fr John Light
1885-1896Fr Robert Trench
1896-1907Fr Philip Herbert Leary
1907-1931Fr Herbert Ridley
1932-1961Fr John Herbert Cloete Twisaday
1961-1966Fr John Herbert Brewer
1966-1967Fr John Henry Milward Dixon
1967-1974Fr Peter Clark
1976-Fr John Brownsell

In the middle of the last century, the Reverend Dr Samuel Walker began to build a large and Special church, designed by the architect William White, as the centrepiece of is housing development in North Kensington, known today as Colville and Powis Squares. He planned this church as a memorial to his parents and intended to crown the tower with a spire a lofty as that of Salisbury Cathedral. But when the tower itself, 100 feet high, had just been completed it was discovered that the marshy ground would bear no more weight and what would have been one of the finest spires in the country had to be abandoned. Nevertheless, the "nobly proportioned tower" is still perhaps the most beautiful object in North Kensington. Like many another property developer since, Dr Walker went bankrupt before his project was completed and the church, while structurally completed, was left without glass or furniture until 1861.

It stood boarded up and weed-grown, with a gipsy camp behind it and became familiarly as Walker’s Folly, or All Sinners in the Mud. Finally completed in a less costly manner in 1861 it was dedicated to All Saints and began to establish itself as the spiritual heart of the community.

Badly bombed during the Second World War. It stood closed again for some 6 years, until it was re-opened in 1951, resplendent with new shrines in honour of the saints, and painted gold-leaf altarpieces by the famous designer of church furnishings, Sir Ninian Comper. Such furnishings were symbols of the kind of ultra "High Church" worship for which the church had become well-known under it flamboyant Vicar (1931-61), Fr John Twisaday, and which sparked off Protestant demonstrations of protest at the Re-Dedication service.

In the 1970s the ancillary buildings to the church, Vestries, Vicarage and Church Halls, were redeveloped in co-operation with the Notting Hill Housing Trust to provide 27 new units of accommodation together with a new Vicarage Flat, Curate’s Flat, Church Hall, Sacristy and Vestry. At the same time the interior of the church was re-ordered, especially the Sanctuary, to provide appropriate arrangements for modern liturgical worship. Many of the items added to the church by Fr Twisaday were relocated, but none disposed of.

During the last 20 years the exterior of the church has been restored and cleaned, and the roof covering renewed as necessary. A certain amount still remains to be done, but the major task ahead of us, following the installation of the new lighting scheme, is the complete internal restoration of the church in which we aim to combine as much as possible of the original Victorian decoration with the many beautiful items added subsequently.


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