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» Ship of Fools   » Community discussion   » Heaven   » Recommendations for London churches to visit, please!

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Source: (consider it) Thread: Recommendations for London churches to visit, please!
Jemima the 9th
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I find myself with a whole day out in London this Sunday [Yipee] without children. Joy untold, verily.

Something I've always wanted to do is wander round some churches of interest - historical, places of particular beauty, or churches that are interesting for whatever peculiar reason. I have no idea where to start and would welcome recommendations.

I've put this here rather than in Ecclesiantics as I'm not particularly after a service, though I hope to stay for one of those too!

All suggestions would be very welcome. Many thanks in advance. [Smile]

Posts: 732 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged
Dafyd
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Have you looked at Simon Jenkins' England's Thousand Best Churches? He's an atheist so his interest is largely aesthetic with some historical interest. Anyway he rates the following as among the hundred best:
St Mary Woolnoth (Hawksmoor)
St Stephen Walbrook (Wren)
Christchurch, Spitalfields (Hawksmoor)
St Mary-le-Strand (Hawksmoor)
All Saints Margaret Street (Victorian Gothic)
St Augustine Kilburn (also Victorian Gothic)
Holy Trinity, Sloane Street (Victorian Arts and Crafts movement)
They're all roughly central London if you include Kensington and Chelsea and stretch a bit for Kilburn.

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Curiosity killed ...

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If you are going to Smithfield, St Bartholomew the Great is worth seeing too as it has the most amazing sculptures. I have only been there for a concert, so don't know anything about the services.

The services at All Saint's Margaret Street, also known as St Spike's, are high church CofE using Common Worship and New English Hymnal, and much loved by those who attend. It's about the only church I can get my daughter to since she's chosen to attend her local RC church (a couple of cities ago).

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Sparrow
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Almost any of the Wren churches are worth a visit, but check on line first to see if they are open. There are one or two websites that give details of the location of them all.

And I would second the recommendation of St Augustine Kilburn, it is spectacular.

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andras
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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
If you are going to Smithfield, St Bartholomew the Great is worth seeing too as it has the most amazing sculptures. I have only been there for a concert, so don't know anything about the services.

The services at All Saint's Margaret Street, also known as St Spike's, are high church CofE using Common Worship and New English Hymnal, and much loved by those who attend. It's about the only church I can get my daughter to since she's chosen to attend her local RC church (a couple of cities ago).

Yes, seconded - it's brilliant!

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Sipech
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Great St Bart's comes with a warning: it's one of the only non-cathedral churches that charges an admission fee if you're not coming for a service.

I took a Methodist friend to Brompton Oratory the other day. It's next door to the V&A.

If you fancy something a little more off the beaten track and unusual, then maybe St Laurence Catford or the Union Chapel in Islington might pique your interest.

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Curiosity killed ...

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Brompton Oratory full Latin Mass is a pretty amazing experience, and you can attend both Brompton Oratory and HTB back to back if you so wish. If you're looking at architecture, HTB is a sad experience.

I have only attended concerts at the Union Chapel in Islington, but that is another amazing building. St John's, Bethnal Green, which also holds concerts (yes, have also seen various people perform there, but also worked near there for a while so went in to see the stations of the cross), has modern stations of the cross that are stunning.

St Martin's in the Field is interesting as a Georgian Church with plain glass windows and chandeliers. The crypt is a good place to eat.

Way out, but amazing is St Lawrence at Canon's Park/Little Stanmore. I haven't attended a service there but was there for a concert of Handel's music on the Grinling Gibbons organ and other instruments played by the Academy of Ancient Music.

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Jemima the 9th
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Thank you so much everybody. Dafyd, I don't have Simon Jenkins' book, I'll see if I can get it by Sunday - it looks a handy thing to have on the bookshelf!

I'm starting at ExCel, where I'm dropping the teenager, so fairly far out to begin with, but I'm happy to travel. Luckily I have a great love of the underground... [Big Grin]

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Pangolin Guerre
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As mentioned, any Wren church is worth a 'boo. I have a fondness for St James Piccadilly . The interior is lovely, airy, but the masterpiece is the limewood panel by Grinling Gibbons, with its pelican. It is a baroque riot of fruit, garlands, etc. The baptismal font is also attributed to Gibbons, and is also a very fine piece, with Adam and Eve in supporting roles. William Blake was baptised there, and Robert Graves was married there. There are probably other luminary connections of which I'm unaware.
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John Holding

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quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
As mentioned, any Wren church is worth a 'boo. I have a fondness for St James Piccadilly . The interior is lovely, airy, but the masterpiece is the limewood panel by Grinling Gibbons, with its pelican. It is a baroque riot of fruit, garlands, etc. The baptismal font is also attributed to Gibbons, and is also a very fine piece, with Adam and Eve in supporting roles. William Blake was baptised there, and Robert Graves was married there. There are probably other luminary connections of which I'm unaware.

I believe Dorothy Sayers was a churchwarden there for several years.

John

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Bishops Finger
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Miss Sayers was churchwarden at St. Anne's, Soho, much rebuilt in recent years, and, by the look of its website, worth visiting if you prefer a more modest enterprise.

http://stannes-soho.org.uk/

IJ

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