The Chapel of St Peter and St Paul is a Neoclassical masterpiece by James ‘Athenian’ Stuart and William Newton. Featuring a Samuel Green organ and an altarpiece painted by Benjamin West, it is one of Britain's finest eighteenth century interiors.

As well as a beautiful place to visit, the Chapel is still an active place of worship, holding regular services throughout the week, as well as frequent events and performances. Services and events often feature the Chapel Choir, which features students from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and talented vocalists from across London.

The Neoclassical Chapel at the Old Royal Naval College
The Chapel of St Peter and St Paul is one of the highlights of the Old Royal Naval College.

Top things to see

Franklin Memorial

Take a look to your right when you enter the Chapel vestibule. An imposing marble memorial commemorates Sir John Franklin and the crews of the ships Erebus and Terror who lost their lives in the ill-fated expedition of 1845 to search for the North West Passage. It was created by Richard Westmacott Junior.

The Chapel rope and anchor

Naval motifs are depicted throughout the Chapel, reflecting the building’s original purpose as a place of worship for the inhabitants of the Royal Hospital for Seamen. In the centre of the black and white marble floor there is a ship’s anchor. A rope design runs along the edge of the pews which is said to match exactly the diameter of an anchor cable of a first-rate ship of the line.

The Chapel ceiling

The ceiling of the Chapel is a wonderful piece of craftsmanship and is almost certainly responsible for the superb acoustics of the space. It was designed by the master plasterer John Papworth in a neo-classical design of squares and octagons. The intricate central ornaments were carved, rather than cast in moulds. It is plastered in light blue and cream following a Wedgewood-inspired colour scheme.

The Samuel Green organ

The organ at the west end of the Chapel is a fine example of the work of Samuel Green (1740-96), the leading organ builder of his day. It was completed at a cost of £1000 in 1798 and is probably the largest instrument built by Green still in its original position. It has three manuals and the pipework, which is noted for its purity of tone and rich mixture stops, is still in use. The handsome and delicately carved Spanish mahogany case, designed by William Newton, cost a further £500.

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