St Michael’s was consecrated and opened for worship in 1832. The church stands higher than any other church in London. We have a rich heritage handed down to us by past generations of Christians in Highgate and we give thanks to God for their witness.
For more details on the history of St Michael’s, see below.
St. Michael’s, Highgate stands higher than any other church in London. As you enter you are all but level with the cross on top of St. Paul’s Cathedral. It is not an ancient church. It was consecrated and opened for worship on 8th November 1832. The Architect was Lewis Vulliamy (1791-1871). He was quite a young man whose drawings for the church were exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1831.
The design was considered to be an outstanding example of the neo-Gothic style, of which the Architect was a pioneer. It was said of him that he was “far in advance of his contemporaries at a period when Gothic was but little known”.
The highly decorated East Wall is one of the glories of St Michael’s. The magnificent window by Evie Hone (1954) replaces an earlier window blown out by blast from a flying bomb in 1944. The window is flanked by four figures of saints, set in decorative niches. The reredos, with its coloured and gilded chequer board motif presents a striking backdrop to the altar.
This part of the church was built in 1880, when architect G E Street extended St Michael’s by one bay – but this decoration is not by Street. In 1903 another notable Gothic Revival architect, Temple Moore, was responsible for the embellishment, indeed recreation, of the East Wall.
The church records of St. Michael, Highgate, tell us that the first organ was built in 1842, when Thomas Gardner was appointed Organist. Fourteen organists and five rebuilds later, some of the original pipework is still retained in the present instrument, although it is perhaps doubtful whether the congregation of 1842 would recognise the fact.