Photoblog: Spanish Place, London

Yesterday in London I had a free couple of hours and took the opportunity to visit Spanish Place, perhaps the most explicitly Anglo-Spanish street name in the country. It was named for the Spanish Embassy, which for some years from 1778 occupied Hertford House in Manchester Square – now the home of The Wallace Collection. Spanish Place runs along the side of Hertford House, ending in the large gothic bulk of St James, Spanish Place, which despite its name is actually in George Street. St James’s, whose current incarnation dates from 1890, was built on the site of an earlier chapel, which between 1791 and 1827 was the official chapel of the Spanish Embassy. The connections with Spain and the Embassy continue, and above the sacristy door you can still see the personal standard of Alfonso XIII, donated to the church in 1908, two years after Alfonso married his British princess, Ena. It’s a beautiful, quiet corner of the city and the church’s interior is breathtakingly grand – my cameraphone photos are a long way from doing it justice, so don’t take my word for it, but do wander by if you’re ever in the area.

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