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Chapel at Queen Mary University used by Newham students listed

07:00 06 June 2014

St Benets Chaplaincy at Queen Mary University

St Benets Chaplaincy at Queen Mary University

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Students from Newham who attend Queen Mary University will be using a “landmark” campus chapel after a decision by English Heritage.

The unusual domed chapel of St Benet’s Chaplaincy at the Mile End campus has received a Grade II listing to recognise it as an important East End landmark.

There are 405 students from Newham registered as undergraduates at Queen Mary, and just under 20,000 from east London, or 18 per cent of all undergrads, according to a spokesman for the university.

The chaplaincy building was built in 1961 and designed by university architect Edward Playne.

St Benet’s chapel and lounge are used by university students and staff for meetings, social events, quiet study, meditation and midweek services of worship featuring different denominations.

It is owned by the Church of England and occupies part of the site of the Victorian St Benet’s Church and Mission Hall, which was built in 1872 but heavily damaged by Nazi bombing raids in 1940.

Rev Jenny Petersen, the university chaplain, said: “I’m delighted that English Heritage has recognised the significance of our beautiful chapel. That grey quirky exterior barely does justice to the treasure within.

“We’re surrounded by noise and traffic – the underground even rumbles beneath us – but the chapel somehow remains a peace- filled, quiet haven for anyone who wants to pray or be still.”

The chapel’s 1964 mural, The Apocalypse of St John, is considered Polish-born artist Adam Kossowski’s crowning achievement and was called “the principle claim to interest in St Benet’s” by English Heritage.

When making the chapel, Kossowski used an ancient technique called sgraffito, which involves scraping off a light-coloured surface layer to reveal the dark background figures in outline.

St Benet’s is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday during term time.

For more information, visit faith.qmul.ac.uk/StBenets.

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