For a short time in the years immediately preceding his move to St Luke’s, Ireland was the organist at St Jude’s, Chelsea. This post was part of his role at Holy Trinity.
The church of St Jude was located in Turks Row, off Lower Sloane Street. Built in the 1830s with a distinctive battlement tower, it was consecrated in 1844. The plans below show the church as designed by George Basevi, while the Charles Booth poverty maps of 1898-9 – the time when Ireland was working there – mark its location. There were times when the area was one of the less salubrious parts of Chelsea. In 1869, for example, the Belgrave Market Company stopped up the courts and alleys on the north side of Turks Row in an attempt to improve a decayed area of small alleys and slum houses. In 1876 a Turks Row block with 155 houses was referred by Chelsea’s medical officer for clearance, though this was not in the end carried out.
St Jude’s united with Holy Trinity in 1892, hence Ireland’s 8-year musical association with this sister church. Services were held twice on Sunday with an unsurpliced choir, and also on Thursday evenings. Mitton’s 1902 survey of London describes the church and its environs as follows:
At the corner between Turks Row and Lower Sloane Street there is a great red-brick mansion rising several stories higher than its neighbours. This is an experiment of the Ladies’ Dwelling Company to provide rooms for ladies obliged to live in London on small means, and has a restaurant below, where meals can be obtained at a reasonable rate. The first block was opened in February, 1889. It is in a very prosperous condition, the applications altogether surpassing the accommodation. The large new flats and houses called Sloane Court and Revelstoke and Mendelssohn Gardens have been built quite recently, and replace very “mean streets.” The little church of St. Jude’s—district church of Holy Trinity—stands on the north side of the Row, and at the back are the National and infant schools attached to it. It was opened for service in 1844. It seats about 800 persons.
In 1903, the year before Ireland left for St Luke’s, attendance was recorded as 216 at the morning service, 145 in the evening. However, Anglican congregations in the area were in decline, and upper Chelsea well served by many churches. Sadly it was demolished in 1934, replaced by the York House flats shown below.
London Metropolitan Archives
Mitton, G.E. ed. Besant (1902) The Fascination of London (Chelsea), London, Adam & Charles Black.