I wonder how many people sitting out in the sunshine realise what a hidden treasure is inside the relatively brick building tucked away to one side of the square. The outside may be relatively plain, but the inside is an astonishing riot of decoration.
The old Middlesex Hospital closed in 2005 and was demolished in 2008 as part of a rationalisation of hospitals into the new University College Hospital. The chapel however survived at the heart of a new development of residential apartments and restaurants and shops around a new public space and was completely refurbished at a cost of £3 million.
Designed in 1891 by John Loughborough Pearson and completed in 1929 by his son Frank, the colourful rich Byzantine interior is decorated in marble and mosaics, along with memorial plaques from the hospital days in the entrance and a font copied from the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, carved from a single block of green marble. Almost no surface remains undecorated.
It is open on Wednesdays and is well worth visiting. As a nice touch, there is a view into the chapel from the Dining Room in the new restaurant to which it joins – modern and historic buildings joined together.