England is famous for its ancient, magnificent architecture spreading across the entire country. Thousands of people visit the United Kingdom every year to gaze at their incredible buildings that date further back than some countries have even existed.
The collapse of Nazi Germany began in 1944 and by May 1945 Nazi troops had retreated leaving the country in complete devastation. Millions of people were displaced from their homes including well over 2 million Ukrainians in western Europe.
Rising from the ashes of WWII were many magnificent buildings which are known as heritage architecture of significant importance for the United Kingdom. In 1947, the International Refugee Organization relocated many refugees to other countries including the United Kingdom. Many Ukrainians came to England in 1947 and early 1948 totaling approximately 21,860 people by the end of 1949.
If you are planning to visit England, we have chosen some impressive sites that have been influenced by the Ukrainians and their communities.
Note – Many of these sites are on the National Heritage List for England. This is a register for the country’s historic buildings and sites. Most places on the list are protected by law and are not open to the public.
1 – The Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral In London
Originally, this cathedral was known as the King’s Weigh House Church. The Cathedral is located on London’s Duke Street W1.. The cathedral is red brick, with buff terracotta, and tiled roofs. It’s a corner site running between Binney and Duke Streets. The Cathedral on Duke Street was designed by Alfred Waterhouse (1888 to 1891) who was one of the heritage architects of the Natural History Museum.
The ground floor of the interior has an elliptical shape that’s carried to the first level by the gallery’s upper walls and ceiling. The brick walls and structural columns are surfaced in faience and simple woodwork. The alternations to the chancel, including the east window, were designed by J.J. Burnet in 1903. The eastern screen wall and flanking organ cases and pulpit were removed for the Ukrainian Cathedral with a confessional by J.F.Bentley.
In 1940, the building was severely damaged by a bomb, it took until 1953 to be completely restored. In turn, that took a huge toll on the congregation which had gone elsewhere. Some years later, the church was used as a Protestant Chapel for members of the U.S Navy stationed in London. In 1968, it was picked up on behalf of Ukrainian Catholics in England under Bishop Augustine Hornyak as their Cathedral of the Holy Family of Exile.
On a moving wall near the northeast entrance is a stone carving of the Holy Family, salvaged from Saffron Hill Church which was the first place of worship for the Ukrainian community.
2 – Mylor Bridge In Cornwall
In 1947, many refugees came to Mylor Bridge and ended up in Cornwall. These people were escaping from the communist Soviet Army which set themselves up in the Ukrainian home country.
Refugees were put up in a hostel between Mylor Bridge and Restronguet Barton. Locally, the site is known as “The gun sites” which many believed it was once a German prisoner of war camp. Many refugees were employed as agricultural workers and some worked in Cornwall’s mining and fishing industries.
One year after their arrival, the Ukrainians built a cross near the hostel as a symbol of their gratitude for sanctuary and strong faith. In 1948, three Roman Catholic priests blessed the cross and the chapel nearby. In 2008, the cross was dedicated to celebrating its 60th anniversary. Some of the original refugees and their descendants attended the ceremony and many have remained in Cornwall since.
3 – New House With A Japanese Garden In Chipping Norton, Oxfordshir
Built in 1964 by architects Stout and Litchfield, this is a significant example of the early 60s domestic architecture and the use of traditional materials in a modernist style.
Originally, Stout and Litchfield wanted a water garden for the new home. The idea for the Japanese garden came from the painter Viacheslav Atroshenko who had visited Kyoto with his friend Grundy.
Born in Shanghai and the son of Ukrainian immigrants, Atroshenko was an artist and a scholar in art and architecture. In 1991, he and Grundy published “Mediterranean Vernacular” or a “Vanishing Architectural Tradition”. A team of Japanese gardeners built the pool for the new house and the garden was designed and planted by Atroshenko.
4 – St Mark’s Church In Coventry, Warwickshire
In the second half of the 19th century, Coventry expanded and grew in size. It led to the construction of St Mark’s Parish Church in 1869. St Mark’s Church sits on the corner of Stoney Stanton Road.
Over the Easter weekend in 1941, one of the air raids released a bomb over Coventry, and the church was severely damaged. In 1947, the church was repaired and reopened for worship.
Around 1965, after a number of Orthodox and Lutheran services and congregations had taken place in Coventry since World War II, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church was practicing their religion at St Mark’s. Then in 1973, St Mark’s Church was converted into an outpatient division for the Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital.
Then in 2006, the hospital left the property. In January of 2017, the building was given consent by the Bishop of Coventry for Occasional Christian services to take place.
5 – Church of the Holy Trinity In Hempton, Norfolk
The Church of the Holy Trinity was built under the guidance of Friar Moxon, a priest who graduated from Cambridge with a First in Law in 1850. He was passionate about education and making life better for the working man.
This impressive heritage architecture is an important statement of a small rural building rising from the Oxford Movement. Its simple painted roof is suspended above the high altar that was carved by a former Ukrainian prisoner of war.
The Oxford Movement was conceived by the high church members of the Church of England which started in the 1830s and developed into Anglo-Catholicism. The movement was made up of the original congregation who were associated with the University of Oxford. They argued for the reinstatement of some older Christian traditions of faith and their admittance into Anglican liturgy and theology.