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Brochure of London Open House - Opening up the City of London Churches (including map of Church Locations) - September 21st and 22nd 2002

(brochure by the Friends of the City Churches, et al.)

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Brochure of London Open House - Opening up the City Churches - September 21st and 22nd 2002

Brochure by the Friends of the City Churches, et al. -

Opening up the City Churches

The majority of the churches in the City of London are opening on at least one of the two days of the Open House weekend.

The map on this leaflet shows the location of all the churches located within the boundary of the City, marked by a dotted red line, and of several just outside, whether they are open or not on either of the two days.

A separate sheet is enclosed with this leaflet listing the churches which are open and giving the times of opening.

Further details of most of the open churches are available on request in the churches. Regarding those churches which are closed, their exteriors are well worth a look - some compensation for not being open.

Choosing a Route

It is probably not feasible to visit all the churches listed and it is suggested that you restrict your visiting to say one half of the City. A convenient dividing "line" runs from Southwark Bridge north along Queen Street, through Guildhall up to the Barbican. This division gives you an eastern and a western half with roughly equal numbers of churches in each. Alternatively you may prefer a northern and southern division, in which case the dividing "line" could run from Liverpool Street station down Bishopsgate, along Threadneedle Street, Poultry, Cheapside, Newgate Street, Holbom Viaduct, to Chancery Lane Underground station.

Although these are all beautiful and historic buildings, they are first and foremost living churches and many have vibrant spiritual and cultural lives that make an incalculable contribution to the life of the City.

We would ask you to respect the fact that they are working churches and havens of peace and tranquillity for many throughout the day. Please be particularly considerate regarding those churches in which services are being held.

And finally, none of this would be possible without the kind co-operation and generous assistance of the clergy and the staff of the churches in the City. The organisers hope you have a very enjoyable and worthwhile day.

The Churches

Numbers correspond to those on the map

1. All Hallows by the Tower
Pre-Great Fire and 17th century. The site dates back to a Saxon church in 676. Badly damaged during the Second World War when only the tower and walls survived. Restored by Lord Mottistone in 1957, who added the spire to the brick tower to emphasise its new prominence after nearby buildings had disappeared. Interesting concrete vault and a striking font cover by Grinling Gibbons. William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania was baptised here, and John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the USA was married here in 1797. His father was the second President.

2. All Hallows Staining Tower and Crypt
A very ancient church site, with buildings that first collapsed five years after the Great Fire and then again a century later. Everything but the tower was pulled down in 1870, but that and the tiny crypt (Norman, part of Lambe's chapel in Monkwell Street moved in 1825) were saved by the Clothworkers Company, which still owns them.

3. All Hallows on the Wall
George Dance the Younger 1765-7. Built on the Roman Wall (section outside the West end), it has a Portland stone tower and cupola with a simple stock brick Southern elevation. The interior is a revelation light and airy, an influential work of Neo-classicism. The organ came from Islington Parish Hall in 1982. Currently the London & South Eastern HQ of Christian Aid.

4. St Andrew Holborn
Wren 1684-1704. The largest church built by Wren, it once stood atop Holborn Hill, but now lies below the level of Holborn Viaduct. The previous church survived the Great Fire, but was in such poor condition that the Commissioners were persuaded to allocate funds for its rebuilding. Gutted in 1941, it was restored by Seely & Paget in Wren's spirit in 1961. The altarpiece comes from Hawksrnoor's St Luke's Old St. The Royal College of Organists is based here.

5. St Andrew Undershaft
One of the few surviving pre-Fire churches, it was badly damaged by an IRA bomb in 1992. The interior was rebuilt in 1520-32 in East Anglian Gothic. Some 171 century fittings, including the organ case, and a font by Nicholas Stone. John Stow is buried here - see his monument with quill pen in hand.

6. St Andrew by the Wardrobe
Wren. 1685-95. The church takes its name from the Royal Wardrobe which was moved to near here from the Tower in the 14' century. A simple basilica design - Wren's preferred plan - encased in brick. The church was completely gutted in 1940 and was refurbished by Marshall Sisson in the 1950s. The interior is brightened by a decorated plaster barrel vault over the nave and the pale new woodwork.

7. St Anne and St Agnes (St Anne's Lutheran)
Wren 1676-87. A Delightful brick exterior in a Dutch manner. The interior is similar to St Mary-at-Hill and was rebuilt after the War in accordance with Wren's original plans. Since its reconsecration in 1966, it has been used by Lutheran congregations.

8. St Bartholomew the Great
Pre-Great Fire. The Augustinian Priory of St Batholomew (and the adjoining hospital) was founded in 1123 by Rahere, a courtier of Henry I, whose 1511 century tomb is in the sanctuary. The stunning apsidal Norman choir remains (much used in films) - the nave of the Priory church was demolished after the reformation. Restored by Sir Aston Webb 1884-1906.

9. St Bartholomew the Less
Pre-Fire and 1811 and 1911 centuries. This small, octagonal church has Barts hospital as its parish. It began as a chapel to the hospital, survived the Great Fire and has been rebuilt by architects including Thomas Hardwick, his son Philip, and his grandson, although the octagonal plan was devised by George Dance the Younger. It was badly damaged in the Second World War.

10. St Benet Welsh Church, Paul's Wharf
Wren (or more probably his colleague Hooke; this is a matter of some debate) 1677-85. An attractive Dutch style red brick exterior, with stone quoins. The church possesses one of the very finest 1711 century interiors with superb woodwork, and is the only one of the City Churches with a royal gallery. The church became the Welsh Church for the City of London by Act of Parliament in 1897.

11. St Botolph without Aldersgate
Rebuilt 1788 by Nathaniel Wright. An unadorned exterior but a surprising interior by Nathaniel Evans. The classical East facade dates from 1831. The barrel vaulted interior has elaborate plasterwork. Transparency on glass depicting the Agony in the Garden (1788). Stained glass and monuments from various periods. Samuel Green organ (1788). Victorian and Georgian sit in harmony.

12. St Botolph without Aldgate
George Dance the Elder 1741. It survived the 1939-45 War but was badly damaged by a fire in 1965. Note the prominent Portland tower. Its crypt acts as a centre for the support of the East End homeless. Inside the galleried church, the windows were releaded by J F Bentley (the architect of Westminster Cathedral) who also decorated the gallery fronts with a balustrade.

13. St Botolph without Bishopsgate
James Gould 1725. Unusually for a City church, St Botolph's stands in a garden with its former Ward School. Both are in red brick, with stone dressings, and the church tower is also in Portland. The large and light interior has a barrel vaulted ceiling on Corinthian columns. It suffered extensive damage from a terrorist bomb in the 1990s.

14. St Bride, Fleet Street
St Bride's with its Roman pavement dated as 180AD, is one of the oldest sites of Christian worship in the City. The present church - by Wren - was partially destroyed by bombing in 1940, but the walls and steeple (Wren's tallest) remain. The crypt has evidence of the earlier churches and a history of the church.

15. The City Temple
Little more than the street front survives from the original buildings of 1873-4, by Lockwood and Mawson. The church was the second largest non-conformist chapel in London. Rebuilding after extensive War damage was completed in 1958. The congregation can trace its origins to 1640.

16. St Clement Dame
Wren 1680-2. Burnt out in 1941 and restored as the RAF church in 1955-8 by W A S Lloyd. The interior plasterwork is a faithful copy of the original. Unique as the only Wren church with an apse, possibly on the pattern of the earlier church. The top of the tower and spire were finished by Jarnes Gibbs.

17. St Clement Eastcheap
Wren 1683-87. Not actually in Eastcheap (it was before King William Street was laid out). A modest church, with coved ceiling, but some good original woodwork, particularly the massive 1711 century pulpit with its huge tester. Alterations by Butterfield in 1872 and 1889; modified 1932-4 by Sir Ninian Comper.

18. St Nicholas, Cole Abbey Presbyterian Church
Wren 1671-81. Built as St Nicholas, Cole Abbey. The spire is surmounted by a gilded ship from St Michael Queenhithe, demolished in 1875. Gutted in 1941. Following post-war rebuilding, it is now used by a Scottish Presbyterian congregation.

19. St Dunstan in the West
One of the most "modern" of the City churches, St Dunstan's dates from 1832, the architects being John Shaw and his son. This church, damaged in the Second World War and reconstructed in 1950, replaced a Georgian structure which itself was preceded by a medieval one. The interior is an unusual and impressively massive octagonal space with seven chapels, one of which is home to the Romanian Orthodox Church in London and has an interesting iconostasis. Note the statue of Queen Elizabeth 1, dating from her reign, over the schoolhouse entrance at the side.

20. The Dutch Church
Arthur Bailey 1950-54. Serving the Dutch community in London, there has been a church here since 1253. The original church was given to the Dutch Protestants in 1550 by Edward VI. The spacious and long original was destroyed in the Second World War. An attractive Portland exterior and a shallow coffered tunnel-vaulted interior with a striking central pulpit. Good modern stained glass and a tapestry depicting the Tree of Life.

21. St Edward the King and Martyr
Robert Hooke 1670-79. A symmetrical stone facade to the street, with the spire rising above. Much altered by the Victorians internally, but the 171 century woodwork is of a high standard. Hit by a bomb during a First World War Zeppelin raid and damaged by incendiary bombs in 1941.

22. St Etheldreda's Chapel
1251, 1293 & 1879. A rare thing - an English medieval church in use for Roman Catholic worship. Slightly set back from the street, the restored cast end of ragstone and ashlar, the interior is largely of circa 1293. The undercroft dates from 1251.

23. St George's German Lutheran Church
This church is a most remarkable and almost unknown gem. It dates from 1762-3 and is the oldest German church in Britain. The pedimented facade in Alie Street, close to the corner of Leman Street, screens an interior retaining a remarkable and mostly original set of furnishings, including galleries, pews, pulpit, all in a typical German arrangement of the time. The church has recently been acquired by the Historic Chapels Trust.

24. St Giles Cripplegate
Pre-Great Fire and Victorian. One of the very few buildings left in the area after the devastating air raid on the City on 29 December 1940. It was damaged itself and has been much restored during its life, post-War by Godfrey Allen. Now surrounded by the Barbican complex. Oliver Cromwell was married here in 1620. John Milton is buried here.

25. St Helen Bisliopsgate
Wren 1674-8. The spire is a later addition (1714-17). The church was bombed during the War and after full restoration, was again damaged when a crane fell through it in 1991. It is now sensitively restored again. With its many windows, with the Victorian stained glass replaced with clear glazing, and with its clerestory, the sobriquet 'Wren's lantern' is most appropriate. There is an imposing 17th century pulpit and other fine woodwork which came from St Michael Queenhithe when that church was demolished in 1875.

26. St James Garlickhythe
Wren 1674-8. The widening of Upper Thames Street has left the church on its own island site for which it was never designed. The steeple is a later addition (1714-17). The church was bombed during the War and after full restoration, was again damaged when a crane fell through it in 1991. It is now sensitively restored again. A grand 1711 century pulpit.

27. St Katharine Cree
A very rare, early seventeenth century church (1628-31), a mix of Tudor gothic and classical, both internally and externally. Architecturally an unusual transitional curiosity. The 17th century organ was played on by Purcell and Handel, and the east window is copied from the rose window of old St Paul's.

28. St Lawrence Jewry
Wren 1670-87. Another church much exposed by post-War clearance of surrounding buildings. It was one of Wren's most expensive City churches, as befits the Corporation's church, and was badly gutted on 291 December 1940. Restored in 1957. Like most Wren churches few walls are at right angles (because he reused earlier foundations to save money). With its gold leaf and chandeliers this is a very handsome church.

29. St Magnus the Martyr
Wren 1671-87. The Portland stone tower stood over the footway at the end of old London Bridge, a Christian gateway to the City. Unlike many of Wren's churches, much of the exterior was meant to be seen and the Northern wall has a series of circular windows with swags and panels between. The interior includes much handsome seventeenth century woodwork, including the pulpit, and was interestingly re-ordered in the 1920s by Martin Travers. The organ, recently restored, was one of the first to have a swell-box.

30. St Margaret Lothbury
Wren 1686-1700. Contains one of the most evocative interiors of any of the Wren churches, full of fine 17th century woodwork, including the choir screen, which came from All Hallows-the-Great (site near Cannon Street station) when that church was demolished in 1894.

31. St Margaret Pattens
Wren 1688. A charming street composition of a stone church tower with lead steeple, and a Georgian house with good shopfront across the forecourt. Inside, there is a West gallery and a North aisle, and among the fittings are two identical church wardens pews at the West end, one for each of the parishes amalgamated after the Great Fire, viz. St Margaret Pattens and St Gabriel Fenchurch. The Friends of the City Churches are based here.

32. St Martin Ludgate
Wren 1677-87. Robert Hooke played a major part in the rebuilding after the Great Fire. The spire is carefully positioned in relation to views of St Paul's up Ludgate Hill, so that it bisects the dome. The West wall is part of the original City Wall by the gate of the City dedicated to King Lud. The interior is tall and cruciform, with fine 1711 century woodwork. William Penn, father of the founder of Pennsylvania was married here in 1643.

33. St Mary Abchurch
Wren 1681-87. A rather plain red brick exterior with stone dressings and a simple lead spire hides a stunning interior, perhaps the best preserved and most evocative of the post-Fire churches. It is crowned by a painted dome, and superb woodwork, including the only reredos that really is by Grinling Gibbons. Although damaged during the Second World War, it was beautifully restored by Godfrey Alien 1 945-5 7.

34. St Mary Aldermary
Wren 1682 (tower 1701-4). Late Perpendicular style interior but with unique fan-vaulted plaster ceiling with rosettes in saucer shaped domes. The furnishings include the 1711 century altar table, pulpit, font and a rare wooden sword-rest.

35. St Mary le Bow
Wren 1670-83. The interior was restored by Lawrence King in 1964 after the building had been gutted by enemy action. The church sits on a Norman crypt (c.1090) and is famous for the Court of Arches, an Ecclesiastical Law Court where Bishops' Elections are confirmed. The church itself has a light and a modern interior with good glass.

36. St Mary at Hill
Wren 1670-76. Tower 1780. Interior partially rebuilt by James Savage in 1 843, but very sympathetically. Until a recent fire it was the only Wren church to retain the original box pews, which were a part of one of the very finest interiors. The pews remain largely undamaged in store awaiting restoration. The organ has recently been restored.

37. St Mary Moorfields
1899-1903 Roman Catholic. The Portland stone facade is so much like the street architecture that it is easily overlooked. Inside, the six columns around the apse come from the church's 1820 predecessor.

38. St Mary Woolnoth
Hawksmoor 1716-27. A small but sumptuous church, quite different from the curves and lightness of Wren. Hawksmoor (Wren's pupil), had a more muscular, geometric and sculptural style. The interior a cube within a cube - is lit by high level semi-circular windows. The reredos and most of the pulpit remain from Hawksmoor - again very different from his teacher's style. This, like Christ Church Spitalfield, is one of the Fifty New Churches of 171 1.

39. St Michael Cornhill
Wren 1669-72. Tower by Hawksmoor 1718-22. Despite modern attempts to tone down the Victorian improvements by Sir George Gilbert Scott, the interior is almost all Scott and little Wren. Enclosed pews by Gibbs Rogers are a feature of the nave.

40. St Michael Paternoster Royal
Wren 1686-94. Another church that has been exposed to view for the first time by post-War replanning. Dick Whittington is buried in the church, and commemorated in a vivid modern stained glass window. Note the Royal Coat of Arms of William 111.

41. St Olave Hart Street
Pre-Great Fire. The church survived the Great Fire but was largely destroyed in the War. The interior is of whitewashed stonework with many 1711 century features and some good monuments. The carved skulls above the entrance to the churchyard are also memorable. Samuel Pepys and his wife, Elizabeth are buried here.

42. St Peter upon Cornhill
Wren 1667-87. Gives perhaps the best impression of the context in which most of the Wren churches were designed and of why their exteriors are often very modest - it is almost entirely hemmed in by adjoining buildings. The interior is one of the most evocative, with a great deal of fine 1711 century woodwork, including a rare screen and massive pulpit. Rarely open, so take this opportunity to look inside.

43. St Sepulchre without Newgate
The largest parish church in the City. The present church is essentially a 1 660s rebuilding of the burnt out shell of a fifteenth century structure. Restored and altered 1873-89, the church retains many interesting features. The organ (rebuilt 1932) was originally built by Renatus Harris, of which the case remains. The Musicians Chapel is noteworthy; the ashes of Sir Henry Wood are interred here. Note also the memorial window to the founders of Virginia, especially Captain John Smith who is buried in the church.

44. St Stephen Walbrook
Wren 1672-7. Perhaps the most famous, and finest, of Wren's churches, where the architect experimented with designs for St Paul's. The main interest lies in the beautiful dome, with wonderful plasterwork, carried on twelve columns. There is also a fine 1711 century pulpit and a Henry Moore altar unusually sited in the centre of the church with pews arranged in arcs around it. The interior is light and airy. Samaritans was started here in 1953. The original telephone is displayed in a glass case.

45. St Vedast Foster Lane
Wren 1695-1700. Restored after War damage by Stephen DykesBower. The interior was remodelled as a college chapel, with pews facing across the nave. Contains many items from demolished City churches. The magnificent spire is believed to be by Hawksmoor.

46. Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue
The oldest synagogue in use on British soil (Jews returned to this country during the Commonwealth). Hardly altered since it was constructed in 1710, the interior is quite remarkable, dominated by seven magnificent chandeliers. Both externally and internally, its design demonstrates both the influence of Wren and similarity to a non-conformist chapel.

47. Temple Church
A Royal Peculiar built in two phases: nave and porch 1160-85; chancel in 1220-40. Restoration in the 19th century, and very heavy bomb damage in the Second World War, followed by thorough restoration. A circular nave and a hall plan chancel, the later exquisitely proportioned. The nave features the famous series of 13"century Purbeck knight's effigies.

48. Wesley's Chapel
The home of Methodism, built by its founder John Wesley, in 1777. Stock brick with pediment. Altered over the years, it still contains galleries and other original fittings, including a wonderful central pulpit. Nearby, Wesley's house of the same date, open to the public, and Bunhill Fields, the most celebrated Nonconformist burial ground in England, where the graves of Daniel Defoe, William Blake and John Bunyan amongst others can be found.

49. Christ Church Spitalfields
Hawksmoor 1714-29. In 1711 Parliament passed an Act for the building of 50 new churches "to be stone with towers and steeples". Christ Church, actually outside the City boundary, was one of the largest and is now recognised as one of the finest buildings in England. It fell into almost complete disrepair, but is now in the process of exemplary restoration. A remarkable building well worth the detour required. The visual effect of the approach to it down Brushfield Street is particularly impressive.

Prepared and compiled by the Friends of the City Churches (further details, including membership, on 020 7626 1555) on behalf of the Friends of the City Churches, the Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks and the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects, joint organisers of the opening.

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