On 21 February, the building of the former Anglican Church at 56 Angliyskaya Embankment was visited by Rev Ian Marshall, a priest of the Anglican Church from Australia. During the visit, Rev Ian Marshall together with his sister Marilyn got acquainted with the building’s history, decoration, and unique architectural merits. In the course of a short excursion, he could see a church organ made in 1877 by the worldwide famous company Brindley & Foster in the city of Sheffield as well as stained-glass windows, which are the only specimen of the English stained glass art of the late 19th century in Russia. The visit to the historic building of the former Anglican Church is of inestimable value to Rev Ian Marshall as it is closely connected with the history of his family.
The grandfather and grandmother of Rev Ian Marshall, Sidney Percy Marshall and Ethne May Neville, were legally wed on 14 June 1917 in Petrograd, at the English Church of St Mary & All Saints at 56 Angliyskaya Embankment. They were married by the last rector of the church, Rev Bousfield Swan Lombard.
‘A wedding ceremony in the Church of England is traditionally held in front of the altar. While being in the building of the former Anglican Church in St. Petersburg today, I have managed to find the very place where my grandparents stood during the solemn ceremony. The feelings and emotions are inexpressible!’ Ian Marshall noted.
Sydney Marshall was born in Lancashire (the UK), and Ethney in Yokohama (Japan); later their families moved to St. Petersburg, where they lived on Bolshoi Prospect of Vasilyevsly Island. Sydney worked as an accountant at Vesteys, one of the world’s largest companies engaged in transportation and sales of food products. This company was the first to begin using industrial and transport refrigerators: since the 1890s, it delivered meat and dairy products from Russia to the UK as well as meat from South America and eggs from China. Like many families, in 1918, Sydney and Ethne Marshall left for Harbin (China), where their first child, the father of Rev Ian Marshall, was born. The family spoke Russian.
Afterwards, the family moved to Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia), and then to Shanghai (China) — these moves were connected with Sydney’s work at Vesteys. During the Second World War, the family was in one of the Japanese concentration camps. After their liberation, the family moved to Australia, where Ian Marshall was born in 1951. Ian became a priest of the Anglican Church of Australia and acted as a Chaplain of the Archbishop of Brisbane in Queensland until his retirement.
At the end of the visit, Rev Ian Marshall expressed his gratitude to the management of the Music Hall Theatre for the consideration shown and for the chance to visit the historic site cherishing the memory about his family.
It is worth reminding that the operational management of the building of the former Anglican Church at 56 Angliyskaya Embankment was transferred to the Music Hall Theatre in 2016. After its reconstruction, a new cultural space will be established here, namely the Concert Hall of Classical Music.
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