St Peter’s Italian Church – 1863
In 1845 St Vincent Pallotti a R.C. priest and Founder of the S. A. C. (Pallottine Fathers) thought of constructing a church in London for Italian immigrants. The Irish architect, Sir John Miller-Bryson modelled the church on the basilica of San Crisogono in Trastevere – Rome.
It was to hold 3,400 people but was scaled down, at that time it was the only church in Britain in the Roman basilican style. It was consecrated on the 16th April 1863, as “The Church of St Peter of all Nations”. The building has an English Heritage Grade II* star listing.
Site: St Peters Church - Arandora Star (3 memorials)
EC1, Clerkenwell Road, St Peter's Church
We visited this site on a sunny Sunday morning - a short bike ride in reality but more like hundreds of miles to a quiet Italian town: the church; the delicatessen next door; three-generation families; dumpy old dears in black; arrogant, chic young people; all socialising before church - the sights and sounds of Italy on a London street.
The two war memorials were erected on 4 November, the date, in 1918, on which the war ended for Italy, when Austria-Hungary surrendered to Italy. They are both in the large porch of the church, with the Arandora Star carving above the war memorial. The plaque about the church can be seen in our photo on the street frontage.
Our thanks to Cathy Surowiec who provided the translations for us.
St Peter's Italian Catholic Church (Chiesa Italiana di San Pietro) website. The annual Procession in Honour of Our Lady of Mount Carmel has run every year since the 1880s and was the first such Roman Catholic celebration to be allowed following centuries of repression.
Credit for this entry to: Cathy Surowiec