St Thomas The Apostle
300 years of history, now
reinvented, again and again
In 2007 Richard and his business partner of many decades, Barry Bennett purchased a derelict Grade II * listed St Thomas’ Church for the business, which was then, incidentally, called Cathedral Group Plc.
Built by Thomas Cartwright, Sir Christopher Wren’s master stonemason, in 1703, their HQ of 6 years was to become the neighbour of The Shard in London Bridge. Due to the Jubilee Line instalment happening below, the church dropped three inches. This was not a restoration project for the fainthearted.
Lovingly restored using a courageous design by architects Alford Hall Monaghan Morris, Richard and Barry retained the building, created an amazing flat in the Belfry and a restaurant in the main church.
But the most recent intervention is perhaps the most exciting. A business venture supporting a start-up live music venue was created and the Church is now home to a unique music venue, Amazing Grace.
In the 250 years since the hymn Amazing Grace was first published, its opening words ‘how sweet the sound’ by English poet John Newton have inspired people for generations. This the ethos behind its namesake, and opening in October 2021, one of London’s best homes for live music.
More than the average music hall, it champions established and emerging musical talent, and while the venue looks to the future, it also preserves the building’s compelling historical past.
This has proved to be incredibly successful. There are plans to roll out this business concept – creating Amazing Grace live venues throughout the country.
As the closing lines to the old song lament, ‘I once was lost, but now am found’. Here, we’re proud to have provided a place for anyone from far and wide to feel welcome.