1predecessor of the French I Church, Leicester Square, London, may soon he demolished —unless generous help comes forward to have it preserved.
This is the chapel of the Annunciation, in Carton Street, near Baker Sreet, where Mass was said from the time of the French emigree priests, till 1910.
The chapel, pictured here, passed then into Anglican hands, became later a toy factory and a furniture store, and from 1946 to 1956 was a synagogue.
Now there are plans for rebuilding the area concerned.
French clergy in the Revolution period had with their own hands built the chapel and the clergy house alongside, but were warned that they could erect neither steeple, nor set up bells to be heard outside. The money came from among the emigres, and from English sympathisers.
In 1799 the chapel was dedicated by Archbishop Boisgelin of Aix. It is in effect scarcely more than a large room, whitewashed and lit by a skylight in the roof. Yet in 1815 this unpretentious building became a Chapel Royal, for Louis XVIII of France, recalling its associations with the French exiled nobility, had thought of honouring it. He determined, in fact, to raise it to the same status as that enjoyed by the Royal Chapel at St. Denis, traditional burial place of the French kings, and of Notre Dame in Paris as well.
The story of the chapel, and of the distinguished exiled people who made it a fashionable place of worship at the turn of the 19th century, is told by Margery Weiner in "The French Exiles, 1759-1815", (John Murray, 25s.). Miss Weiner is head of the " Daily Telegraph " information Bureau.