Holy Trinity Church, Nice, was built between 1860 and 1862, in the neo-gothic style so fashionable in Victorian England, to replace an earlier Anglican church on the same site.
In the 19th century, Nice was a popular winter health resort for wealthy British visitors. It was these winter residents who raised the money to build the first Anglican church in 1820. It was a somewhat modest edifice. In the Kingdom of Sardinia, to which Nice belonged until 1860, non-Roman Catholic churches were only tolerated on condition that they did not look like churches. So the first church had the outward appearance of an ordinary house. It soon became too small, and protracted negotiations took place before Holy Trinity Church was allowed to be built, and finally consecrated on December 22nd, 1862. By this time, restrictions on the outward appearance had been eased, so the British community were at last able to have a church that corresponded to their taste and requirements. It was Mr Thomas Smith, a London architect, who designed Holy Trinity Church.
The church was enlarged in 1913, when the apse was added. The striking stained-glass East windows were, however, only installed in 1929, again thanks to the British residents’ donations. These beautiful windows were made by Charles Lorin, of Chartres.
The Lady Chapel, to the right of the Chancel, took its present form in 1917. Previously, this space was occupied by pews reserved for invalids.
The organ, which is on the left (North) side of the Chancel, was bought in 1867 from Walker & Sons, London, with money raised by subscription. It was originally situated in the gallery above the West door, but it was moved to its present position in 1889, when the Chancel was enlarged and the ornamental screens erected on either side. In 1914 it was dismantled, shipped to London and reconstructed as a two-manual instrument, finally returning to Nice only in 1919, after the Great War.
The Chapel on the North side contains a marble altar which was originally used in another Anglican church in Nice, Christ Church on boulevard Carabacel. This second church, built at the same time as Holy Trinity, was demolished after the Second World War.
The pulpit was first situated on the left of the Chancel; it was moved to its present position in 1908. The windows and brass plaques on the North and South sides, a brass lectern and the font in the South-West corner are all memorials to various people, given by their relatives or friends at different times.
On leaving the church, visitors may notice the coat of arms above the door. It was used in the private chapel of Queen Victoria when she stayed at the Regina Hotel, Cimiez.
Before leaving the grounds, it is worth taking a look at what is left of the original churchyard, which was in use from 1820 to 1860. Two of the graves are particularly interesting.
The first is that of Adolphe Lodovic Lacroix, British Consul at Nice, who served the British community here so faithfully for 37 years. He was buried, incidentally, in 1871 when, officially, the churchyard was no longer in use as a cemetery.
The second is that of the Reverend Henry Francis Lyte, the author of many hymns, but especially remembered for ‘Praise my soul, the King of Heaven’ and ‘Abide with me’. He died, like so many others at that time, of tuberculosis, while passing through Nice on his way to winter in Sicily.