by Katie Calvert
The Brompton Oratory (also known as the London Oratory althought its formal name is the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) was built between 1880 and 1884.
Herbert Gribble, the 29-year-old, untried architect, designed the Brompton Oratory in the style of an Italian Renaissance church. Its rich interior contains many treasures that were transplanted from older—much older—Italian churches.
The Brompton Oratory holds an interesting place in the English Catholic revival of the 19th Century. The revival was greatly influenced by the Oxford Movement, a group centered in that university city that sought to bring the Anglican Church back to religious orthodoxy.
John Henry Newman, who was vicar at the Oxford church of St. Mary the Virgin, was an influential leader and writer of this group.
Newman converted to Roman Catholicism in 1845 and became an Oratorian priest in Rome. This community of priests is called the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri.
Newman, who would later be made a cardinal in 1879, returned to England and founded the Birmingham Oratory.
Frederick William Faber (another convert) led a group of Newman's followers from Birmingham to London in 1849, establishing this church in what was once the outskirts of the capital. It is the second largest Roman Catholic church in London; only Westminster Cathedral is taller.
The Brompton (London) Oratory is on Brompton Road near the Victoria and Albert Museum. Harrads is just a few blocks in the oposite direction.
The shopping district and residential neighbourhood on the south side of Brompton Road is known as Brompton Quarter.
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