2023 sees the 900th anniversary of the founding of the Priory of St Bartholomew. On Saturday 25 March 2023, St Bartholomew’s Hospital and St Bartholomew the Great church will turn 900 years old.
St Bartholomew’s the Great a hidden gem
St Bartholomew’s the Great is a magnificent church hidden away in the heart of ‘Old London’ close to Smithfield market. Unless you were actually going to visit, it is entirely likely that you would pass it by.
You may be familiar with the church on screen as it featured in the film ‘4 weddings and a funeral’. Just beyond the entrance now stands a dazzling statue by Damien Hirst (2006) of Saint Bartholomew on loan from his private collection. Thereafter one enters a very calming and clearly medieval interior that has remained largely unaltered at its core for 500 years. You get a clear sense of its beginnings as a Priory building of the Augustine order. Ones eye is drawn hither and thither to a feast of architectural delights.
Personally of course it is the large west end organ case that gets immediate attention sitting high above the pulpitum screen which is adjacent to the choir stalls below. The screen itself is a magnificent structure with a preacher’s desk mid-way between ground and the organ case.
Almost 15 years ago now we supplied one of our first custom built organ to Saint Bartholomew’s Church in London. The pipe organ had become so unreliable something significant had to be done.
In 2018 we were asked if we could upgrade the Regent Classic organ to the latest physically modelled sound system and move speakers to better protected and appropriate locations.
Great Saint Bart’s, as it is often affectionately known, is a very atmospheric building and from the moment you walk in you immediately sense the history of the site. While much of the medieval Priory buildings are long since gone the site managed to escape the Great Fire of London which raged about this location.
It is truly a ‘must visit’ on any tourist itinerary. A place where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the capital outside and take refuge in the tranquillity of the beautiful place of worship.
St Barts launches a series of fundraising projects
To mark nine centuries since the foundation of these iconic institutions, they’ve launched a series of landmark fundraising projects and the Church is planning a series of celebratory events which you are invited to join.
St Bartholomew’s Hospital has launched a series of landmark fundraising projects with their hospital partners. The projects span world-leading medicine and research, wellbeing for their dedicated NHS teams and education that will benefit millions of Londoners and secure a proud heritage for future generations.
This campaign, culminating in a year-long celebration in 2023, brings together the ‘Barts’ family (Barts Health, Barts Charity, Barts Heritage and St Bartholomew the Great church) to continue centuries old traditions of philanthropy, excellence and innovation.
- Barts Charity aims to raise £30m to create a dedicated centre for breast cancer surgery at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, and a cutting-edge Clinical Research Facility at The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.
- The £9.1M Sharing Historic Barts project will rescue and rejuvenate the historic buildings and art at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, including the spectacular Great Hall, and Hogarth Stair.
- The team at St Bartholomew the Great church are aiming to raise £7m for much-needed repairs and a new education centre. A further £3m Music Endowment Fund will secure their tradition of world-class music in the church into the future.
The special broadcast service of choral evensong broadcast by the BBC to celebrate the 900th anniversary can be heard on THIS LINK.
I have had a passion for church organs since the tender age of 12. I own and run Regent Classic Organs with a close attention to the detail that musicians appreciate; and a clear understanding of the benefits of digital technology and keeping to the traditional and emotional elements of organ playing.