Standing just a few yards from the River Thames, this historic church has a history going back into the depths of the Dark Ages.
The foundation stone was laid on October 12th 1820. The rector at the time was the brother of the Duke of Wellington. St Luke’s is regarded as being one of the first neo Gothic churches to be built in London: the nave, 60ft in height, is the tallest of any parish church in London and the tower reaches a height of 142 feet.
The architect was James Savage, one of the foremost authorities on medieval architecture of his time, and the church has a grandeur of conception and a great attention to detail. It is built of Bath stone.
Despite it being a building of Gothic style, the interior was laid out in the traditional 18th century way of a preaching house, with an enormous pulpit and pews everywhere and a diminutive altar. This arrangement was altered in the late 19th century.
Along the south side is the PFFA Chapel, a memorial chapel to the Punjab Frontier Force, based in India from 1847 to 1947. There are many memorials to local people around the church and of particular note are those to the Cadogan family who remain patrons of this parish. On the east wall of the north gallery, the memorial to Lt Col Henry Cadogan, who was killed in 1813 in the Battle of Vittoria, is by Sir Francis Chantrey.
St Luke’s is built on a labyrinth of crypts in order to provide better foundations on the sandy soil. The large burial ground which surrounded the church was converted into a public garden in 1881, the gravestones being placed to form a boundary wall.
Charles Dickens was married here on 2nd April 1836 to Catherine Hogarth. The wedding took place two days after publication of the first part of the Pickwick Papers. John Goss, who wrote the hymn 'Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven' and the carol 'See Amid the Winter Snow', was organist here as was John Ireland who wrote the well know hymn tune 'My Song is Love Unknown'. Charles Kingsley, who wrote The Water Babies, was associated with this parish, of which his father was rector from 1836-1860.