A massive inferno engulfed a north London church last night, which has been described as an architectural treasure filled with stunning mosaics.
Dozens of firefighters battled the blaze at St Mark’s Church, a Grade II listed building known for its educational and literary history.
About 80 firefighters were sent to the church in Hamilton Terrace, St John’s Wood, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) said, after being warned of the blaze at 11.19pm.
The entire two-story building was on fire and residents were requested to keep windows and doors closed due to the significant amount of smoke released.
The entire church went up in flames, completely destroying the roof of the monumental building
The LFB said it used three ladders, including the tallest in Europe at about 210 feet, as towers to evenly distribute the water.
Footage from the scene showed flames engulfing the entire building and coming out of the windows of the church.
Eyewitnesses described the blaze as “appalling” and added they were saddened by the extraordinary damage.
The fire was under control at 2:22 a.m. Friday.
The exact extent of the damage is still unclear, but is considered significant. Footage from the scene shows the entire roof destroyed, as well as many of the windows, the interiors of which were thought to have been gutted.
No injuries were reported and the exact cause of the fire is unknown at this time.
A local resident told the BBC: ‘It’s appalling, the whole church was on fire – smoke everywhere. It’s extremely sad because it’s a very old church and it’s a ruin now.’
The National Churches Trust lists St Mark’s as a Grade II Victorian church, with ‘stunning’ mosaics by the Salviati family and highly decorative marble floors in the chancel.
The Anglican Church is located near Abbey Road Studios and Lord’s Cricket Ground, and has links to author Lewis Carroll and Queen Victoria’s son Prince Leopold.
The trust describes it as an ‘architectural and historical treasure’, built between 1846 and 1847 in the Gothic style to the design of architect Thomas Cundy Junior.
The church had been described as an ‘architectural treasure’ and had famous mosaics
Twelve fire engines and about 80 firefighters were called in to fight the blaze, which took three hours to bring under control
Local residents were told to keep windows and doors closed all night because of the enormous smoke development
The church was consecrated in June 1847 and is said to have enjoyed a ‘history of education and literary associations’ during its history
Firefighters from North Kensington, Paddington, West Hampstead and surrounding fire stations are on scene
Some 80 firefighters were called out last night to fight a huge blaze at a church in north London. Flames from St. Mark’s Church lit up the night sky as twelve fire engines rushed to the scene
The church was dedicated in June 1847 and is said to have enjoyed a “history of education and literary associations” throughout its history.
It was closely associated with the establishment of St John’s School in Leatherhead and the works of Lewis Carroll, such as Alice in Wonderland.
The church is currently run by the Reverend Kate Harrison, who first took over in 2015.
London Fire Brigade said: ‘Twelve fire engines and around 80 firefighters have been called out to a church fire on Hamilton Terrace in St John’s Wood. The entire two-story building is on fire.
The fire is causing a lot of smoke in the area and residents are advised to keep windows and doors closed.
Firefighters are using two of the brigade’s new 32-metre revolving ladders and a 64-metre revolving ladder (the highest in Europe) on site as water towers to get water out into the building.
The brigade’s 999 controllers have answered nearly 30 calls to the fire.
‘The brigade was called at 11:19 p.m. Firefighters from North Kensington, Paddington, West Hampstead and surrounding fire stations are on scene. The cause of the fire is currently unknown.’
They later added: ‘There were no reports of injuries. Firefighters are on site to begin their investigation into the cause of the fire.’
A spokesman for the London Ambulance Service said it had sent an ambulance crew, a medic in a rapid response vehicle and members of the Dangerous Area Rescue Team to the scene.
“The incident is ongoing and we are working with our emergency services colleagues,” the spokesperson added.