Logo

 

Banner Image:   Baptist-Times-banner-2000x370-
Template Mode:   Baptist Times
Icon
    Post     Tweet


'Mixing piety and pleasure with aplomb'

 
The former offices of the Baptist Union of Great Britain have been transformed into a boutique hotel in Central London

Loscar bedroom
 
L’oscar in Southampton Row, Holborn, opened for bookings last week (13 June) with many of its period features intact and its rooms and corridors lavishly restored.

L’oscar is based in the former Baptist Church House, a Grade II-listed building which was built between 1901 and 1903 and housed the offices of our Union until the move to Didcot in 1989. The building was originally sold to London Underground in order to make a new entrance to Holborn Tube Station for Crossrail, the scheme to build two new railway lines across London. However, Crossrail in that incarnation did not come about and the building lay unoccupied for many years.
 
That changed when, looking for a hotel property, French architect and designer Jacques Garcia and the present owner discovered the abandoned building while walking around London.
 
‘I fell in love with the 19th-century architecture straight away,’ Jacques told Conde Nast Traveller. ‘And within minutes I knew how it would look, how to make this marvellous base sublime.’

Baptist Church House Loscar co
 
Original architect Arthur Keen mixed ‘Wrenaissance’ style with arts and crafts influences, partnering some of the best artists and craftsmen of the time to create much of the exterior and interior design of ornately plastered ceilings, carved fireplaces, oak panelling, and finely worked plaques. Many Baptists took 'considerable pride' in the centre, with its panelled oak Council Chamber and other fine features, historian Ian Randall told The Baptist Times when news of the building's sale emerged in 2012

Work on the refurbishment subsequently began approximately six years ago, and the new owners worked closely with English Heritage and Camden Council to ensure a sensitive restoration. 

Loscar fireplace

It means much of those striking original features remain, which speak not just of the building’s architecture but also its Baptist past. A bust of John Bunyan continues to cast its eye over Southampton Row from the corner of the building; the committee room, now an intimate events space, contains a fireplace with an original terracotta carving of a scene from Bunyan’s The Pilgrims Progress.

A mezzanine floor has been incorporated into the striking former Council Chamber, the 1903 octagonal chapel with glass dome, and this now houses the hotel’s restaurant The Baptist Grill, and the Baptist Bar below (pictured).

Baptist Bar

The library is the hotel’s largest events space, and retains its oak panelled shelves, once filled with literature of the Baptist church. There are 39 rooms in total.
 
The name pays tribute to both the Irish writer Oscar Wilde (one of the mottos of L’oscar is a Wilde quote: ‘Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future’) and to the glamour of the American Oscar awards ceremony. Hotelier Duncan Shakeshaft says: ‘A hotel ‘is essentially a theatre, with staff and guests playing their parts. It is a performance of the utmost quality, with every detail considered for the enjoyment of the guest and to enhance the harmony of the whole.’
 
The irony of the transformation of 'the turn-of-the-century Baptist Church Headquarters into a boutique hotel dripping in opulent finishes’ was highlighted in the Robb Report's review of the new hotel.... which concluded: 


‘Instead of masking its ecclesiastical roots, the property’s developers, led by famed architect and interior designer Jacques Garcia and hotelier Duncan Shakeshaft, have exploited them to an ultra-stylish end—mixing piety and pleasure with aplomb.’

 
 

Images:
L'oscar images | Freuds
Baptist Church House | Angus Library and Archive 



Find out more on the hotel’s website, and Instagram feed.


Loscar instagram feed
Baptist Times, 15/06/2018
    Post     Tweet
Examples of how Home Mission funds are being used in the London Baptist Association
SubArticleD2019
Jane Golden has been heading up a team at Ruislip Baptist Church for a number of years. She explains more
Leytonstone United Free Church didn't use tinsel and trees this Christmas, but recreated two cardboard Bethlehem scenes instead. It provoked reflection and conversation in the community, writes Gemma Dunning
Around 20 years ago Westbourne Park Baptist Church in north London dreamt of a new building. That dream has now become reality
New Addington Baptist Church held a special weekend of celebrations to mark 20 years since the beginning of their Community Family Project
Forty-six people from 18 small churches across the capital gathered for an inspiring day conference
All Nations Baptist Church felt it was important to thank God for all that has been achieved over the decades, despite the struggles
     Regional News 
    Posted: 03/01/2020
    Posted: 27/11/2019
    Posted: 18/10/2018
    Posted: 25/05/2018
    Posted: 06/03/2018
    Posted: 31/01/2017
    Posted: 16/11/2016
    Posted: 05/10/2016
    Posted: 17/06/2016
    Posted: 17/11/2015
    Posted: 04/06/2015