All Saints Margaret Street
All Saints Margaret Street Church was built by a religious group called the Tractarians against a stormy background of Anglican history in late 19th century England. There were many movements going on, all influencing the other and in the design of churches. Groups particularly active during the period were the Evangelicals, who promoted literacy, Sunday observance and the improvement of living conditions amongst the lower classes. The High Church tradition, on the other hand was fighting the threat against Protestantism of the ‘Catholic Emancipation’, which had led to the building of many Roman Catholic churches. On top of all this was the beginnings of the theory of evolution, which threatened the entire Christian world-view beginning with Genesis.
The Tractarians were a group of Anglicans who sought to revive the ‘Catholic’ elements of Christianity, particularly through liturgical rites. This would counteract the growing popularity of Roman Catholicism and go against the ‘unhistoric’ Evangelism. The Tractarians sought a proper architectural setting for their historically correct traditions and turned to the Gothic style as the only true Christian architectural language. From 1841, the Camden Society (of Tractarians) published a journal called the Ecclesiologist, a practical architectural publication which outlined the proper way to build a church, criticized improperly designed buildings and invited architects to submit their designs for review.
An Ideal Church
Last modified: March 5, 2000