All Saints and EOKA
Walking up Camden Street this afternoon with a bright, low, winter sun, I was struck by the elegance of what's now the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of All Saints.
The building dates to the 1820s, built in what architects call a neo-Greek style. It became known as Camden Chapel.
After the Second World War, as more Greek Cypriots settled in this area, it began to be used for Orthodox services, and was eventually bought by the Orthodox church. It became a cathedral in 1991.
All Saints is listed Grade 1 - and you can see why. It's certainly the stand out piece of clerical architecture in Camden Town (not that I can think of a lot of competition) - and one of the best in the borough.
The building was open as I walked past, so I had a peep inside. Very much in the Orthodox style, its charm slightly dented by a sense of being a bit crowded by all the trappings of worship. A building of this elegance needs a sparse and dignified interior. Though the cathedral is clearly well patronised, and the building cared for, so let's just be thankful for that.
I mentioned that Greek Cypriots provided the drive to establish a Greek Orthodox church here. A Camden History Society publication records that in 1956, an assistant priest at All Saints was deported on suspicion that he was raising funds for EOKA, which was fighting the British and aimed to reunite Cyprus with Greece. After Cyprus gained independence in 1960, the Cypriot leader Archbishop Makarios came to London several times, and conducted services here.
I walk past this church daily and have wondered about it's history - my kids go to the catholic school behind it, they share a playground with the CofE school beside it - I think this corner of Camden captures some of the melting pot that is Camden and London.
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