No. 5 St. Mary Le Strand & Somerset House Volunteer


St. Mary le Strand and Somerset House
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Crace Collection of Maps of London > A mapp of the parishes of St. Clements Danes, St. Mary Savoy; with the Rolls Liberty and Lincolns Inn, taken from the last survey with corrections and additions (1720). From the Crace Maps of London Collection; © of the British Library Board

St Mary le Strand (see map) is a Church of England church at the eastern end of the Strand in the City of WestminsterLondon. It lies within the Deanery of Westminster (St Margaret) within the Diocese of London. The church stands on what was until recently a traffic island to the north of Somerset HouseKing’s College London‘s Strand campus, and south of Bush House (formerly the headquarters of the BBC World Service and now also part of King’s College London). It is the official church of the Women’s Royal Naval Service, and has a book of remembrance for members who have died in service. The nearest tube station is Temple, with the now-closed Aldwych station nearly opposite the church. It is known as one of the two ‘Island Churches’, the other being St Clement Danes.
Somerset House is a large Neoclassical complex situated on the south side of the Strand in central London, overlooking the River Thames, just east of Waterloo Bridge. The Georgian era quadrangle was built on the site of a Tudorpalace (“Old Somerset House”) originally belonging to the Duke of Somerset. The present Somerset House was designed by Sir William Chambers, begun in 1776, and was further extended with Victorian era outer wings to the east and west in 1831 and 1856 respectively. The site of Somerset House stood directly on the River Thames until the Victoria Embankment parkway was built in the late 1860s.  The great Georgian era structure was built to be a grand public building housing various government and public-benefit society offices. Its present tenants are a mixture of various organisations, generally centred around the arts and education.