Walking the City of London

Category: Stained Glass Page 1 of 2

A visit to the wonderful Two Temple Place.

I don’t know why it has taken me so long to visit this extraordinary building but the wait was certainly worth it. And entry is free!

You know you’re in for a treat when, at the entrance, you encounter these charming cherubs chatting to one another over a late 19th century telephone …

The way in …

Two Temple Place is ‘a dazzling neo-Gothic gem’ on Victoria Embankment …

Then the richest man in the world, William Waldorf Astor emigrated to England from America in 1891 and he spared no expense when work began on Two Temple Place in 1892. It was designed by one of the foremost neo-Gothic architects of the late nineteenth-century, John Loughborough Pearson, and served as an impregnable bolthole with the eccentric Astor’s private apartment and bedroom upstairs. Its main purpose, however, was to accomodate the people managing Astor’s vast estate.

The man himself …

If you love stained glass as much as I do this must be on your list to visit. Here are just a few of the many images I took as I walked around. I haven’t included captions since the ones at the venue are so detailed this blog would be far too long. So I hope these pictures are good enough to encourage you to visit in person …

At the bottom of the stunning staircase you encounter D’Artagnan …

And further up, Athos …

More breathtaking glass awaits you upstairs …

In the foreground is a modern piece from a special exhibition that is also resident at Temple Place for the time being …

Entitled ‘The Glass Heart’, the guide tells us that ‘this bold new exploration of glass in the UK brings together for the very first time rarely seen works from key UK collections, celebrating this remarkable material – unforgiving, fragile, strong, sustainable. The Glass Heart will make you think again about glass as we explore how it has illuminated and contained human narratives and ideas’.

Here are a few images from this exciting and unusual exhibition …

Well written and beautifully illustrated, at £10 the guide book is fantastic value for money and a great memento of your visit …

Two Temple Place is a truly magnificent one-off. Make sure you check on the website for opening times before you visit since these can vary : https://twotempleplace.org/

If glass is your passion, don’t forget you can watch the creative process in action at the London Glassblowing Gallery

The items for sale there may change forever your perception of what glass can do and the way it can influence the way we see the world – a fantastic place to visit …

There are glass hearts like these in the Temple Place exhibition. If you visit see if you can spot them …

I enjoyed that glass of Rosé as well!

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Why WFH when you can WFC?

WFC? Working From Church, of course!

Forever trying to move with the times, some of the City churches have adapted brilliantly to take advantage of new technology which allows people to work virtually anywhere. This has also enabled me to indulge two of my main passions – churches and their history and cake.

St Nicholas Cole Abbey was the first church to be rebuilt by Wren after the Great Fire (1672-78). You can see one of its most interesting features before you actually go in the door. The beautiful galleon weathevane came from St Michael Queenhithe, another Wren church, demolished in 1876 under the Union of Benefices Act 1860 …

The view from the south side of Queen Victoria Street …

The interior is spacious and light …

My orange and cranberry cake was delicious and tasted home-made. The tea was good too (£6.70 in total – well, it is the City!) …

A striking ‘wall’ of innovative, modern glass depicts Christ’s Kingdom Spreading throughout the World (1962). Abstract elements connect all three windows with details of landscapes from across the globe at their base. Igloos, tepees and skyscrapers for the Americas, towers and domes for Europe, and minarets and domes for Africa and Asia …

The maker was Keith New (1926-2012), a pioneering British modernist stained glass artist. His career was launched by the 1952 Royal College of Art commission to design the windows for Coventry Cathedral.

On the way to the loo you encounter some old grave markers that have been re-sited on the floor ..

Somerset Place was a very posh address in the 18oos – no wonder Mrs Stewart wanted it on her gravestone.

Onward to St Mary Aldermary and its witty advertising board …

It was 12:15 when I got there and there was already a formidable queue for the food stall in the churchyard …

Before you head into the church, look down at what I believe is the most accurate grave marker in the City …

There is a well preserved coat of arms which includes four beavers suggesting involvement in the fur trade which was flourishing at the time. It’s a tribute to the quality of the stone and the carving that (even assuming it wasn’t laid until Henry died) it has survived so well after 200 years of footfall.

Under the coat of arms the inscription reads as follows …

Mrs Anna Catharina Schneider. Died 15th of June 1798 at half past Six O’clock in the Evening. Aged 57 Years, 3 months and 9 Days

I have written more about this memorial and others in my ‘favourite tombs’ blog from February 2021.

Having looked down outside the door, look up on entering and admire the fabulous intricate fan-vaulted ceiling that I wrote about in last week’s blog

The cafe food selection …

There’s plenty of room to sit in the church …

St Mary-le-Bow is just 100 yards or so to the north. This is the view from Cheapside …

You can see the dragon weathervane very well on a sunny day like this …

The cafe in the crypt …

The menu is very comprehensive and you can view it here.

As I walked down the steps to the cafe I was struck by the incredibly worn nature of the stone – this could well have been the crypt entrance long before the 1666 Great Fire and Wren’s rebuilding of the church …

The church was totally gutted during the Blitz but it’s very much worth a visit to see the beautiful post-war stained glass. For example, to the north (left) of the sanctuary is depicted the Patron of the parish, the Blessed Virgin Mary, holding (and thus symbolising her care for us) the church built by Wren. She is clothed in blue (the traditional colour for Our Lady) and her feet appear to be resting on the arches of the crypt. Surrounding Our Lady’s image are seventeen Wren churches which survived the Second World War, each held by the patron saint of the parish …

You’ll find her and other fabulous examples of City church stained glass in my blog dedicated to the subject.

Alongside the church is another set of steps …

This is a place for silent prayer and contemplation …

I was fascinated by some of the gravestones …

And the fine collection of heraldic symbols …

And last, but by no means least, St Mary Woolnoth, designed by Christopher Wren’s esteemed protégé Nicholas Hawksmoor (1661 – 1736) …

The food service area is tucked away just inside the door …

Do visit the interior where you can admire the memorial to John Newton, the reformed slave trader who wrote the hymn Amazing Grace …

The stunning, bulging pulpit dates from Hawksmoor’s time and Newton delivered his sermons from it. It was made by Thomas Darby and Gervaise Smith …

Don’t miss the 1810 ‘price list’ hanging on the west wall …

You can eat outside and watch the world go by. The air is a lot cleaner now that Bank Junction is closed to most traffic …

I have written about St Mary Woolnoth before and you can find my blog here.

Now, an important message: It has been proven time and time again that music, particularly live music, can have immense beneficial psychological effects. This is especially true for folk who may be feeling isolated or are experienceing dementia. And it’s not just the elderly who can benefit, but also young people who may be spending much of their life receiving care in hospital. There is a lovely charity, the Spitz Charitable Trust, who have delivered this life enhancing service for over ten years and, because I love what they do, I am for the first time promoting a charity in my blog. All charities are having tough times at the moment so do, please, see if you can make a contribution, however modest, to help them in their work. Click here for their crowdfunding page and to find out more about them.

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St Bartholomew the Less – an arithmetical memorial and some very spectacular tights!

Poor St Bartholomew the Less has had a tough time (EC1A 9DS). Designated ‘the less’ to distinguish it from its better known namesake nearby, it has also had to be substantially rebuilt a number of times including the need to repair damage inflicted in the Blitz. Nonetheless, it is a fascinating place containing many interesting historical monuments.

To find its modest doorway you must enter the grounds of St Bartholomew’s hospital through the Henry VIII gates and look to your left. Inside a rather spooky white hand directs you up stairs to the main body of the church …

It was once a parish church in its own right, the parish boundary being the walls of the hospital. The parishioners were made up of the hospital staff and patients and at one time attendance at services was compulsory for all who were fit enough. It was the only parish of this nature in existence but since 2015, however, it has become part of the Parish of St Bartholomew the Great.

There are many features to admire but, for reasons of space, I have tried to pick some of the most interesting and will look at others in a future blog.

This stained glass commemorates the founding of he monastic complex of St Bartholomew in 1123. The person responsible was Rahere, a courtier to Henry I, who was inspired by a vision of the saint whilst recovering from a serious illness …

Rahere is shown kneeling and beneath his cassock is rather a surprise. He is wearing some very colourful tights, a reference to the fact that he’s often referred to as a minstrel or jester as well as a courtier …

High up on the south wall is the memorial to Robert Balthrope, Sergeant Surgeon to Queen Elizabeth I …

The inscription reads …

Here Robert Balthrope Lyes intombed,
to Elizabeth Our Queene
Who Sergeant of the Surgeons Sworne,
Neere Thirtye Yeeres Hathe Beene
He Died at Sixtye Nine of Yeeres,
Decembers Ninthe The Daye
The Yeere of Grace Eight Hundred Twice

Deductinge Nine A waye.
Let Here His Rotten Bones Repose
Till Angells Trompet Sounde
To Warne The Worlde of Present Chaunge
And Raise the Deade From Grounde.

He died in 1591, but the poet who devised this eulogy presumably had a problem getting 1591 to rhyme with anything. So he chose the frankly odd solution of asking the reader to do some mental arithmetic – ‘The Yeere of Grace Eight Hundred Twice’ (i.e. 800 x 2 = 1600) Deductinge Nine A waye (1600 – 9 = 1591).

The current windows in the church were designed by Hugh Easton, following the loss of the earlier windows during World War Two. Easton was an eminent stained glass maker who also designed the Battle of Britain memorial window in Westminster Abbey. The design of the nurse in the window in Westminster Abbey is strikingly similar to that in the window here …

The doctors’ memorial window …

The mid-19th century alabaster pulpit depicts Christ healing the sick …

On the east wall is the poignant memorial plaque to Arthur Jermyn Landon …

The reflections make it difficult to read so here it is in full …

His former medical contemporaries at St Bartholomew’s Hospital have set up this tablet to keep in memory the bright example of ARTHUR JERMYN LANDON Surgeon Army Medical Department who, while continuing to dress the wounded amid a shower of bullets in the action on Majuba Hill, was in turn mortally wounded. His immediate request to his assistants “I am dying do what you can for the wounded” was characteristic of his unselfish disposition. His habitual life was expressed in the simple grandeur of his death. He was born at Brentwood Essex 29th June 1851. Died two days after the action at Mount Prospect South Africa 1st March 1881.

Here he is in an image of him dated 1881 held at the Wellcome Foundation …

The elaborate memorial to John and Mary Darker (Died 1784 and 1800) …

Before you leave, look to the right of the door and you will see the tomb of Surgeon John Freke (1688-1756) …

English History Online has the following to say …

… a remarkably curious tomb of the fireplace kind, most elaborately wrought. It is the tomb of Freke, the senior surgeon of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, who wrote many works upon surgery, still to be found in its library. His bust is to be seen in the museum of the hospital, and he is represented by Hogarth, in the last plate of “The Stages of Cruelty,” presiding aloft over the dissecting-table, and pointing with a long wand to the dead “subject,” upon whom he is lecturing to the assembled students.

And here it is …

You can read more about Hogarth’s The Four Stages of Cruelty here.

Look back after leaving the church and observe the oldest parts of the building, the 15th-century tower and west end of the church …

Within the tower are three bells, the oldest being cast in 1380. The bells are hung in the original wooden frame thought to be the oldest in London.

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Holy Sepulchre Church – music, war, justice and a marriage that produced 23 children.

I have been a bit unlucky in the past when, walking towards Holborn Viaduct, I have found this church closed. Last weekend, however, my luck was in and I ventured inside. I am delighted I did.

The porch, tower and outer walls date from the mid-15th century …

The interior is a bit of a mixture of late 17th century to mid-Victorian …

The first thing that struck me was the quality of the stained glass.

A window removed for safe keeping during the War …

St Bernard with some of his followers …

I stopped to admire the glass in the Musicians’ Chapel.

This is the burial place of Sir Henry Wood, founder and conductor of the Proms for nearly 50 years, in memory of whom there is a window and a memorial plaque …

There is a window to Walter Carroll who lived from 1869 till 1955 in Manchester. He was a composer and a music teacher, especially known for his music for children, which he wrote for his two daughters Ida and Elsa …

Dame Nellie Melba, an Australian operatic lyric coloratura soprano, also has a commemorative window. She became one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian era and the early 20th century and was the first Australian to achieve international recognition as a classical musician …

For centuries, the church had a close association with the notorious Newgate Prison which stood across the road where the Old Bailey is now.

Carts carrying the condemned on their way to Tyburn would pause briefly at the church where prisoners would be presented with a nosegay. However, they would already have had an encounter with someone from the church the night before. In 1605, a wealthy merchant called Robert Dow made a bequest of £50 for a bellman from the church to stand outside the cells of the condemned at midnight, ring the bell, and chant as follows:

All you that in the condemned hole do lie, Prepare you, for tomorrow you shall die; Watch all and pray, the hour is drawing near, That you before the Almighty must appear; Examine well yourselves, in time repent, That you may not to eternal flames be sent: And when St. Sepulchre’s bell tomorrow tolls, The Lord above have mercy on your souls.

And you can still see the bell today, displayed in a glass case in the church …

The south chapel is dedicated to the City of London Regiment of the Royal Fusiliers …

Regimental colours dating back to the 19th century are on display …

The terrible carnage of the First World War is recalled by some of the battle honours recorded here …

I am so delighted that I looked up and noticed this memorial …

I quote here from the Worshipful Company of Barbers’ website:

Edward Arris was a distinguished surgeon and Master of the Barbers’ Company. He died in 1651, two years after his wife Mary. Their marriage had lasted 60 years and produced 23 children, only one of whom (Thomas) survived their mother.

The inscription reads: ‘Edward Arris Esq gave to ye company of Chyrurgeons 30l for an anatomy lecture & to the Hospital of St Bartholomew 24l both yearly forever to Christ Church Hospital 100l & 50l towards rebuilding of this church; and several large gifts to the poor of this parish, wherein he was born. And all these in his life time. Hee deceased the 28 May 1676 aged 85 and lyeth buryed by his wife.

The money Arris provided to the Company in 1645 – a benefaction he attempted to keep secret – founded six lectures and a dissection in the Inigo Jones Anatomy Theatre annually. His name (along with that of another Master of the Company) and these lectures live on today as the Arris and Gale Lecture at the Royal College of Surgeons.

Besides providing grooming services, barber-surgeons regularly performed dental extractions, bloodletting, minor surgeries and sometimes amputations. The association between barbers and surgeons goes back to the early Middle Ages, hence the blood and bandages sign outside barber shops today.

This beautiful font cover was donated by a parishoner in 1670 …

There is another font cover nearby with a thrilling back story …

Vicars going back to the 12th century …

When you leave the church there is one other thing to look out for – the first ever public drinking fountain installed in London …

You can read all about it in my earlier blog entitled Philanthropic Fountains.

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‘Tommy’s’ – my visits to St Thomas’ Hospital.

I was a hospital in-patient recently and fortunately ended up at one of the best hospitals in the world, St Thomas’ in Lambeth (or ‘Tommy’s’ as us alumni call it) where the standard of care was outstanding. I’m pleased to say I’m fine now, thank you for asking.

One of the most extraordinary features of the place is the view from some of the wards. Here’s what I could see if I just stepped out of bed …

When I went back last week for a follow-up appointment I did a bit of exploration and was astonished and delighted at what I found.

I headed for the oldest part of the hospital and on my way, in the South Wing corridor, I came across these lovely tiles …

Created by the Royal Doulton Lambeth factory, they and others originally covered the walls of two of St Thomas’ childrens wards, Lilian and Seymour, which were opened in 1901 and 1903 respectively. Hygiene was a factor in the tiling decision but also, of course, the aim to give pleasure and amusement to the young patients. Here they are illustrated on two postcards …

In the Great Hall are commemorated important people who had a connection with the hospital …

And they’re not all men …

From her Guardian obituary :

She saw her 10 years as matron of St Thomas’s and superintendent of the Nightingale training school from 1955-65 as a time of great social change and was eager to relax the strict rules which she believed had governed nurses’ lives for too long. Encounters with Theodora Turner were seldom forgotten … Former students and nursing colleagues remember her sense of duty and discipline, her kindness and humour. The latter is, perhaps, most neatly encapsulated in her belief that her pet mynah bird, presented to her by sailors when working at Liverpool Royal Infirmary, was a foolproof burglar alarm because of its ability to mimic her laugh.

No prizes for guessing who this lady is …

Florence Nightingale greatly influenced the design of the new 1872 St Thomas’ Hospital with its innovative ‘pavilion style’ of seven large separate buildings connected by walkways. She recognized the importance of design for improving hygiene and health, and made careful calculations regarding dimensions and efficient use of space in hospitals. Nightingale proposed full-height windows at specified intervals in the wards, with the beds set between to encourage ventilation and allow air to circulate without creating drafts. She stipulated that clean and dirty areas should be separate so food and clean linen were stored at the ward entry with washing and sanitary facilities at the other end.

I saw this entrance and had to go and nose around …

Up the impressive staircase, which I presume dates from the 1870s …

A modern stained glass treat at the top …

I peeped into the dining room …

Above the staircase …

The Duke of Connaught (1850-1942) …

He was president from 1882 to 1932.

Back on the ground floor …

Truly Imperial (and maybe a bit imperious) …

Edward VI was the son of Henry VIII and his third queen, Jane Seymour. Born on 12 October 1537, he succeed his father at the age of nine in 1547 but never attained his majority, dying aged 15 in 1553. During the Reformation St Thomas’, as a religious foundation, was deprived of its revenues and estates and was closed in 1540. In 1551, Edward granted a charter for the hospital’s refounding which is why he’s commemorated here …

More beautiful stained glass on the way out …

I love the frog …

Outside the main entrance you’ll find this sculpture Cross the Divide by Rick Kirby (2000) …

There’s also this striking sculpture of Mary Seacole …

Read more about her extraordinary life here.

There are also nice views north towards the Houses of Parliament …

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An exhumed poet, a proud Mayor and a very modest attorney. Stories from St Giles.

From where I live I have a nice view of my local church, St Giles Without Cripplegate. This image gives a good impression of where this wonderful old church is located within the strikingly modern Barbican Estate …

I am always pleased to come across old images of the area, particularly those taken in the three decades after the Second World War. I am indebted to the author of the splendid London Inheritance blog for this view from 1947 showing the devastated landscape …

The building on the left is the Red Cross Street Fire Station.

Another image showing nearby destruction …

The following photo taken in the days following the raid on the 29th December 1940 shows the damage to the interior of the church …

St Giles Cripplegate

Image credit: London Metropolitan Archives, City of London: catalogue ref: m0017971cl

Since the walls and tower survived a service was possible with the parishioners able to look straight up to the sky …

The inside of the church today. I was fortunate enough to visit when a lady (on the left in the picture) was practising beautifully on the organ …

Here’s an aerial view from the 1960s and the church now has a roof. The more modern looking building on the right is Roman House which has recently been converted into apartments …

In this 21st century aerial image you can just make out the church’s green roof …

Some monuments remain from the old pre-Blitz building.

There is this touching memorial to a favourite character of mine, Sir William Staines …

And here is the man himself …

Staines had extremely humble beginnings working as a bricklayer’s labourer, but eventually accumulated a large fortune which he generously used for philanthropic purposes. He seemed to recall his own earlier penury when he ensured that the houses he built for ‘aged and indigent’ folk would have ‘nothing to distinguish them from the other dwelling-houses … to denote the poverty of the inhabitant’.

British History Online records an encounter he had with the notorious John Wilkes who referred rather rudely to Staines’ original occupation …

The alderman was an illiterate man, and was a sort of butt amongst his brethren. At one of the Old Bailey dinners, after a sumptuous repast of turtle and venison, Sir William was eating a great quantity of butter with his cheese. “Why, brother,” said Wilkes, “you lay it on with a trowel!”

Incidentally, Wilkes is also commemorated in the the City in Fetter Lane where a striking statue of him honestly portrays his famous squint …

John Milton (1608-1674), the poet and republican, is perhaps the most famous former parishioner of St Giles and his statue stands by the south wall of the church …

It’s made of metal, which means it is one of the few memorials in the church that survived the bombing in the Second World War. It is the work of the sculptor Horace Montford (c1840-1919) and is based on a bust made in about 1654.

He used to be outside and was blasted off his plinth during the bombing …

There is also this commemorative plaque …

And a bust which clearly indicates his later-life blindness …

Milton was buried in the church next to his father, however he was not allowed to rest in peace.

British History Online reports the shocking event as follows …

‘A sacrilegious desecration of his remains, we regret to record, took place in 1790 … The disinterment had been agreed upon after a merry meeting at the house of Mr. Fountain, overseer, in Beech Lane, the night before, Mr. Cole, another overseer, and the journeyman of Mr. Ascough, the parish clerk, who was a coffin-maker, assisting’.

Having identified where they thought Milton’s grave was, they dug down almost six feet, found a coffin, and removed the lid. The report goes on …

‘Upon first view of the body, it appeared perfect, and completely enveloped in the shroud, which was of many folds, the ribs standing up regularly. When they disturbed the shroud the ribs fell. Mr. Fountain confessed that he pulled hard at the teeth, which resisted, until some one hit them a knock with a stone, when they easily came out. There were but five in the upper jaw, which were all perfectly sound and white, and all taken by Mr. Fountain. He gave one of them to Mr. Laming. Mr. Laming also took one from the lower jaw; and Mr. Taylor took two from it. Mr. Laming said that he had at one time a mind to bring away the whole under-jaw with the teeth in it; he had it in his hand, but tossed it back again’.

As if that wasn’t undignified enough,’Elizabeth Grant, the gravedigger … now took possession of the coffin; and, as its situation under the common councilmen’s pew would not admit of its being seen without the help of a candle, she kept a tinder-box in the excavation, and, when any persons came, struck a light, and conducted them under the pew; where, by reversing the part of the lid which had been cut, she exhibited the body, at first for sixpence and afterwards for threepence and twopence each person’.

The body was reburied but rumours spread that it wasn’t Milton in the coffin, but a woman. So Milton was dug up a second time and the surgeon in attendance examined the bones — what were left of them — and pronounced them to be masculine. Only then was Milton, at last, allowed to rest only to be permanently obliterated in the bombing.

Notwithstanding the generous memorials to the great and the good, I was captivated by this modest plaque on the south wall …

An attorney at law who obviously believed in brevity. No Latin exhortation of his virtues, no figures of a grieving widow and children, only the important facts and the bald, concluding statement ‘That is all’.

There is a lot more to see at St Giles such as modern stained glass …

And intriguing inscriptions, both inside …

And outside …

But for the moment ‘that is all!’

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Non-religious stained glass.

I love looking at stained glass and not all of it in the City is religion-oriented even though it may be located in churches.

So here’s my selection. Some have appeared in previous blogs but I hope you enjoy seeing them again.

I’ll start with one of my favourite places, the Guildhall Art Gallery, where these examples appear at the west end. They all relate to City Livery Companies and were created by Stella Timmins to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

The Worshipful Company of Engineers …

The Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators …

The Worshipful Company of Gardeners (with Alfred, Lord Tennyson!) …

The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights …

The Worshipful Copany of Environmental Cleaners …

Doctors and nurses who gave their lives in wartime are commemorated in two lovely windows in the church of St Bartholomew the Less.

They were designed by Hugh Easton, following the loss of the earlier windows during World War Two. Easton was an eminent stained glass maker who also designed the Battle of Britain memorial window in Westminster Abbey. The design of the nurse in the window in Westminster Abbey is strikingly similar to that in the window here …

The doctors’ window …

Traditional pub glass in the Lamb Tavern Leadenhall Market

St Mary Abchurch’s connection with the Fruiterers Company is commemorated by this charming stained glass window …

The Worshipful Company of Glovers of London – True hearts and warm hands at St Margaret Lothbury

Stained glass windows which date from 1923 at Farringdon Station …

At St Giles Cripplegate there are a number of modern stained glass windows. In the baptistery is the Cripplegate Window, which celebrates the centenary of the Cripplegate Foundation www.cripplegate.org which gives grants, advice and support to local organisations. The Foundation was formally established in 1891 but its origins lie in gifts made to St Giles’ for the poor and the needy dating back centuries. John Sworder made the first recorded gift in his will, dated 2 April 1500, and the head at the top of the window represents him, the first of the pious donors of the parish that we know by name …

On the north wall is a memorial window to Edward Alleyn, the parish’s generous benefactor. The design is the work of John Lawson of stained glass studio Goddard & Gibbs and depicts Alleyn in the centre, as well as the Fortune Theatre (which he founded), almshouses (which he built in the parish and which were destroyed in the Second World War), and St Luke’s Church, Old Street …

At Southwark Cathedral, a few feet from the door, is the magnificent Shakespeare Memorial Window, Designed by Christopher Webb, it was created in 1954 to replace another destroyed in enemy action. It shows characters from the Bard’s plays …

The design uses the concept of the Jesse Tree. Prospero in the central light forms the trunk, with Ariel above and Caliban at his feet …

I’m sure you can spot Falstaff …

In the right hand window we find Lady Macbeth ,,,

Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee …

and Hamlet …

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy …

At the base, the last two of the Seven Ages of Man … …

The sixth age slips into the lean and slippered pantaloon, with spectacles on nose … and his big manly voice turning again toward childish treble … Last scene of all, is second childishness … sans teeth, sans eyes sans everything.

All the characters portrayed in the window are identified in this short article.

Since this year is the 300th anniversary of Sir Christopher Wren’s death, I think it’s very appropriate to reproduce this image of the beautiful ‘Wren window’ in St Lawrence Jewry. It was created in 1957 by Christopher Webb

The great man is flanked by the Master Carver Grinling Gibbons and the Master Mason Edward Strong. Below the three major figures the window shows various craftsmen at work – bricklayers, carpenters, plasterers, stonemasons and two of Webb’s own stained glass artists.

And below them are two more modern figures …

Cecil Brown and Reverend Frank Trimingham study the church plan, with the outline of the footprint of the church in front of them. On each side are the beautifully etched towers of many of the Churches Wren built, along with two different views of St Paul’s Cathedral.

And finally an example of the stunning widows designed by the artist and glass maker John David Hayward in St Michael Paternoster Royal on College Hill EC4, where Dick Whittington was buried in 1423.

I’m sure everyone knows the Whittington legend. He had given up on making his fortune in London but, as he headed home with his faithful cat, he heard the bells of St Mary-le-Bow ring out the words:

Turn again Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor of London

Well, the bit about him being Lord Mayor is true, and it was four times rather than three, but two of the terms were consecutive.

Here Hayward shows that critical moment on Highgate Hill …

The church bells of St Mary-le-Bow ring out behind him.

One commentator has said he rather resembles a flat-capped Hoxton Hipster – maybe there is an iPad in that bag.

I love the expression on the cat’s face. Perhaps he has seen a mouse …

You can read more about the legend at the wonderful Purr ‘n’ Fur website.

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Random subjects I found interesting, from street animals to stained glass. And did Batman and Robin share a bed?

Having a camera on my phone is a great asset but also leads to me taking pics of all kinds of random subjects that don’t have a particular theme. The time then comes when I don’t have a blog theme in mind so I cop out by publishing examples of this miscellaneous collection.

This is one of those times and I hope you enjoy this occasionally quirky selection.

I’ll start with the street animals.

Cricklewood Station boasts a friendly multi-coloured cow …

A cow painted in the red and green colours of the Portugal national football team stands outside a souvenir shop in the Algarve …

Same street – different cow …

Leadenhall market porker …

Every year the Worshipful Company of Paviours bring an inflatable animal (known as a St Anthony’s pig) to the Lord Mayor’s Show …

In medieval times the London meat market at Smithfield released pigs that were unfit for slaughter into the streets to fend for themselves. They were identified by a bell around their neck and some prospered sufficiently to get fat enough to eat. Every now and then the paviours (who maintained the roads) rounded them up and delivered them to feed the poor and needy in the care of St Anthony’s Hospital.

Now, from pigs to swans.

The Vintners and Dyers Companies share in the ownership of mute swans with the monarch and it is their job to catch and ring them in a ceremony known as ‘swan upping’ done each June. This man, the Swan Marker, is in charge of the Vintners’ Swan Uppers for the event, but also wears the uniform of Barge Master, dating back to the time when the Company owned a ceremonial barge on the Thames. Here he is with a feathered companion outside the church of St James Garlickhythe

The Barge Master badge …

Clever advertising in Portugal …

Gifts to take home from Portugal …

Gifts to take home from London …

A sunny day at the Regent’s Canal, St Pancras …

I grabbed this image since the sky and clouds were so attractive. St Stephen Walbrook (1672) was Christopher Wren’s prototype for the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. It was the first classical dome to be built in England at the time …

Whoever decided to place this pool here in Cannon Street was a genius …

Lots of creative ideas for your pastry …

Batman and Robin street art snog …

You may be surprised to know that in the early 1950s comics they seemed to share a bed …

When observations were made about this the publishers were quick to make a statement, and I quote it here :

‘It’s necessary to point out that, no — they’re not sharing a bed, as many mistakenly think. You can distinctly make out a gap in the backboard, meaning that, though they are sleeping unusually close together for an adult guardian and his teen ward, they’re not in bed together‘.

So that’s cleared that up!

Nothing odd about a bit of nude sunlamp toning either, by the way …

Speculation as to the pair’s sexuality is discussed in The Slate article entitled, rather unfortunately, A Brief History of Dick.

I was invited for lunch at the Institute of Chartered Accountants and so got to see some of their splendid stained glass …

Another highlight of my year was seeing Tower Bridge raised. I have lived in London all my life and can’t recall witnessing this before in person rather than on TV …

And finally, another big ‘thank you’ to our wonderful City of London gardeners who work so hard all year to keep the place looking fresh and green …

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A wander around Leadenhall Market – Christopher Wren, Harry Potter and a famous goose.

Situated in the centre of the City of London’s financial district, the current Grade II listed Market building, designed by Horace Jones, dates back to 1881. Its airy and light wrought iron and glass structure replaced the stone market previously created by Lord Mayor of London, Dick Whittington in the 15th Century. The ‘old’ market before demolition …

It now offers a spectacular Victorian setting with the roof, cobbles and buildings preserved. Crowning the many entrances are elaborate stone pediments carved with dragons, swags, shields and other devices, with a particular emphasis on City heraldry …

I have written about the City dragon emblem before in Dragons and Maidens.

It’s a very convivial place at lunchtime, especially popular with workers from nearby Lloyd’s …

The underwriters are right next door …

New buildings are still springing up despite the reported trend for more hot-desking and part-time commuting …

This exhibit, from the Sculpture in the City programme, is entitled symbols by Guillaume Vandame

A tasteful celebration of the Jubilee …

What is this bar’s name all about?

It commemorates the famous goose Old Tom. During the early 19th Century one of the most celebrated characters in the Market was Old Tom, a gander from Ostend who came to England by chance, due to his fascination with one of the lady members of his flock. It is recorded that over two consecutive days 34,000 geese were slaughtered in the Market – but Old Tom managed to escape execution. He became a great favourite in the Market and was a regular customer at the local inns where he was fed titbits. So famous was he that his obituary appeared in The Times on 19th March 1835, giving his age as 37 years, 9 months and 6 days.

The market in 1890 …

And in the 1960s. It looks like people are shopping for their traditional Christmas turkey or goose …

The hooks that produce was hung from are still there …

And now for some items of interest that not everyone is aware of.

Check out the Lamb Tavern and these these splendid tiles depicting Sir Christopher Wren. He is standing in front of The Monument (which still has scaffolding around it) holding up a drawing of how it will look when finished …

Just look at the characters gathered around him …

A lady holding a fan leans out of her carriage window to chat to the architect. A child (possibly her servant) stands nearby holding what looks like a pet King Charles spaniel. Some nearby gentlemen are also intrigued, but the chap with the red hat who looks like Errol Flynn might be more interested in the lady. Observe the elegant shoes of the man holding an eyeglass. Not really appropriate for the City’s muddy streets, so maybe he is her carriage companion. The carriage driver looks over his shoulder at the scene. The panel is by W.B. Simpson & Sons and is faintly dated 12th March 1882.

The pub also boasts some nice traditional glass …

Part of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (the first film in the blockbuster series) was filmed in Leadenhall in 2000/2001. The Market was used to represent the area of London leading to the popular wizarding pub The Leaky Cauldron and was the inspiration for the magical shopping street Diagon Alley. Here, in a later film, Hadrig leads Harry through the pub door …

And here it is at 42 Bull’s Head Passage (EC3V 1LU) …

Finally, very often when I have visited the market I have noticed the shoe-shine men …

Read more about them here in the Spitalfields Life blog.

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St Mary Abchurch – Wren’s hidden masterpiece.

St Mary’s is tucked away halfway down the narrow Abchurch Lane that links Cannon Street and King William Street (EC4N 7BA). As Stephen Millar has written in his wonderful little book London’s City Churches, to stand in the old churchyard and look at the Dutch influenced red brick exterior it is not hard to imagine yourself back in the 17th century …

Built between 1681 and 1686, this is one of Wren’s greatest parish churches. The interior is almost square, its rich dark woodwork contributing to the intimate atmosphere …

The dome was built during Wren’s experimental period, later perfected on a much larger scale at St Paul’s Cathedral. The dome was painted in 1708 by parishioner William Snow and contains a heavenly choir around the name of God in Hebrew …

It’s very difficult to photograph but I found this image on Pinterest, copyright Rex Harris …

The beautiful reredos features limewood carvings by Grinling Gibbons, the pre-eminent carver of his generation …

The pelican in the centre represents the Eucharist and is also the crest of Corpus Christi College …

Also of note are the original box pews on three sides of the church …

The pulpit (circa 1685) is by William Grey and is one of the finest examples in any City church …

Near the entrance is an original alms box dating from 1694 (three keys were needed to open it!) …

On the front pews are two ceremonial wrought iron sword-rests used to support the civic sword when the Lord Mayor of London attends a service at the church. The arms on the sword-rests are those of two former parishioners who were also Lord Mayors of London, George Scholey (1812) and Samuel Birch (1814). The first …

And the second …

Images courtesy of A London Inheritance.

William Emmett made the wooden Royal Arms …

Along with the font cover …

The font itself is by William Kempster.

The church’s connection with the Fruiterers Company is commemorated by this charming stained glass window …

Outside you’ll find an old hydrant cover from 1841 which incorporates a parish marker. The pipe and outlet are clearly seen in the hole in the centre and only the cover that was originally across this hole is missing …

There’s an old ghost sign too …

It’s a lovely church to visit. There are regular organ recitals and you can grab a coffee and a snack from one of the stalls in the churchyard. Find out more here.

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Where Maggie wed Denis – a visit to Wesley’s Chapel.

Wesley’s Chapel on City Road was first opened in 1778 by John Wesley (1703-1791) as a home base for his fast growing network of churches and societies which eventually became the Methodist Church (EC1Y 1AU).

The house where he lived during his later years is next door. Here’s the view of the house from Bunhill Burial Ground where Wesley’s mother is buried. He could see her grave from his bedroom window on the second floor …

Here he is depicted visiting the grave in 1779 …

The original marker has now been replaced by one with a much shorter inscription …

This part of Bunhill is not open to the public.

There are dozens of memorials within the Chapel, along with 18 magnificent stained glass windows depicting Biblical scenes. Although it’s an active house of worship, it is open to the public during the week and many visitors come to see the place where Wesley preached and lived and last week I became one of them.

This window shows Sir Galahad overcoming the seven deadly sins and, through his victory, building the City of God. Sir Galahad is the patron saint of the Wesley Guild, which, when founded, was seen as a modern youth movement …

Here is a small selection of other glass you can admire …

This window gives thanks for the fact that the chapel escaped damage during the Second World War …

At either end of the vestibule there are two windows by Mark Cazalet. One shows God as fire …

And the other God as water …

The view from the balcony …

Margaret Thatcher (then Margaret Roberts) married Denis Thatcher here on 13 December 1951 and both their children were christened here. She donated the communion rail in 1993 …

The War memorial …

Old Boys’ Brigade flag …

The Brigade is still going strong and now welcomes girls as members. Have a look at their very lively website here.

A seat in the Foundery Chapel. ‘Primitive’ meant ‘simple’ or ‘relating to an original stage’; the Primitive Methodists saw themselves as practising a purer form of Christianity, closer to the earliest Methodists …

I strongly recommend a visit to the museum …

And the shop, where you can pick up a tasteful memento of your visit …

Wesley’s tomb is behind the Chapel …

In the basement of the Chapel there is a beautifully preserved Victorian lavatory dating from 1899. It’s a shrine to Thomas Crapper – the champion of the flushing toilet and inventor of the ballcock …

Unfortunately it was closed when I visited but you can, however, read about it and see more images in the Gentle Author’s blog At God’s Convenience.

The Chapel and the Museum are wonderful places to visit and this blog really doesn’t do them justice so do call in if you get the chance.

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Fun on the Tube – from a piece of Roman Wall to a beloved cat.

Every now and then I like to explore our fascinating Underground network to see what new discoveries I can make.

If you go to the east end of the westbound platform at Tower Hill you will see this sign …

And here is the piece of wall …

If you get off the train at Aldgate East you can admire these intriguing tiles …

There are many to choose from and you can read all about them in my visit to Aldgate East blog.

You’ll also find at the station a fine example of a 1930s roundel …

There’s another heritage example just outside Temple Station. It’s a London Passenger Transport Board Underground map from 1932 (to avoid potential confusion the attached notice points out that there is ‘An up-to-date Journey Planner located inside the station’!) …

Here is the part of the 1932 Map covering the stations I visit in this blog. ‘Post Office’ became ‘St Paul’s’ five years later …

Whilst you wait there for your train, look up and you will see the tops of the ornate columns that once supported the canopy covering the tracks and platforms …

When Temple Station was first opened locomotive drivers were forbidden to sound their whistles at the station lest they disturb the barristers working (or dozing) in the Inns of Court nearby.

Also on the platform are some images of historical interest. This, for example, is Blackfriars Station in 1876 …

And today (image courtesy of Network Rail) …

Nowadays, if you want to travel by rail to Continental Europe, you head for St Pancras International and Eurostar. Once upon a time though, your gateway to the Continent was Blackfriars.

The station was badly damaged during the Second World War but the wall displaying a selection of the locations you could catch a train to survived and you can see it today in the ticket hall. It was part of the original façade of the 1886  station (originally known as St Paul’s) and features the names of 54 destinations – each painstakingly carved into separate sandstone blocks and illuminated with gold leaf …

You can read more about the wall and the interesting area around the station in my Terminus Tales blog.

I noticed this instruction at the top of the escalator …

I believe that, on his first visit to London, Paddington Bear interpreted this as meaning you couldn’t use the escalator unless you were carrying a dog.

Onward now to the refurbished Farringdon Station. On climbing the stairs from the platform you can admire the original 19th century roof supports …

Just before exiting through the barriers I spotted some nice stained glass windows which date from 1923 …

Farringdon Station moved to its current location on 23 December 1865 when the Metropolitan Railway opened an extension to Moorgate. It was renamed Farringdon & High Holborn on 26 January 1922 when the new building by the architect Charles Walter Clark facing Cowcross Street was opened, and its present name was adopted on 21 April 1936 …

From mid-1914, the Metropolitan Railway introduced its own version of the Underground roundel. This originally appeared as a blue station name plate across a red diamond and the diamond is still there, above the entrance …

It has also been reproduced on Moorgate Station as a nod to the railway’s past history …

Trivia quiz question. Only two station names contain all the vowels …

This is one of them – what is the other? The answer is at the end of this week’s blog – no peeping!

And finally to Barbican. The station was originally known as Aldersgate Street when it opened in 1865, changing its name to Aldersgate in 1910, Aldersgate & Barbican in 1923 and finally settling for Barbican in 1968.

Just inside the barriers is a nice photo montage illustrating some of the station’s history …

The station platforms used to be covered by a glazed arch but after suffering serious bomb damage during the Second World War, it was eventually removed in 1955 …

Those were the days, with carriages pulled by steam locomotives …

You can still see the support brackets for the now demolished roof …

Do pause in the entrance hall and pay your respects to the memory of Pebbles the Blackfriars Station cat.

For many years Pebbles was a favourite of staff and passengers, often sleeping soundly on top of the exit barriers despite the rush hour pandemonium going on around him. This is a picture from the wonderfully named purr’n’furr website, a great source for moggie-related stories …

Clearly he was greatly missed when he died, as the plaque faithfully records, on 26th May 1997.

This was doubly sad because he was due to be given a Lifetime Achievement Award. This was sponsored by Spillers Pet Foods and named after Arthur, a cat they used in their advertising who ate with his paws. The Certificate that came with the award is also displayed (the co-winner, the aptly named Barbie, was Pebbles’ companion) …

Incidentally, here is Arthur in action …

The TV ads ran between 1966 and 1975 with a succession of Arthurs playing the role. At one time a terrible rumour circulated that the advertising agency had taken the original cat to the vet and had all his teeth removed in order to encourage his rather eccentric eating behaviour. This story was subsequently demonstrated to be untrue. Obviously there is a detailed entry about Arthur on the purr’n’furr website and there’s lots more about him if you just Google Arthur the cat that ate with his paws. There is some great footage of the ads themselves with hilarious voice-overs by eminent actors such as Peter Bull, Leo McKern and Joss Ackland.

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The other station with all the vowels is, of course …

St Olave’s memorials – from Samuel Pepys to the great sacrifices made by the employees of Wm Cory in both World Wars.

I love visiting St Olave Hart Street. It’s tiny and wonderfully atmospheric, being one of the few surviving Medieval buildings in London. It was badly damaged during the War but many of its treasures had been removed to safety and others have been beautifully restored.

I first visited with my camera some years ago when I was writing about Samuel Pepys and I was immediately captivated by this sculpture of his wife Elizabeth. She died of typhoid fever at the age of 29 and, despite his dalliances with other women, Pepys was devastated by her death at such a young age. He commissioned this bust in white marble from the sculptor John Bushnell …

She is shown with her gaze directed towards the location of the Navy Office Pew where her husband would have sat, her mouth open as if in conversation.

His pew was in the gallery he had had built on the south wall of the church with an added outside stairway from the Royal Navy Offices so that he could go to church without getting soaked by the rain. The gallery is now gone but a memorial to Pepys marks the location of the stairway’s door …

Pepys never married again and arranged to be buried in St Olave’s next to Christine. Now they face one another across the aisle for eternity.

Although small, the church is packed with other items of interest and I shall write about a few of them this week.

Sir James Deane has an impressive tripartite monument showing him and his three wives kneeling in prayer …

Two of the women carry skulls indicating that they died before their time. Three of his children died in infancy and their swaddled bodies are included in the monument with their little heads resting on skulls, again indicating mortality (images copyright Carole Tyrrell) …

Deane was knighted on 8 July 1604 and was a very wealthy man. He made his fortune as a merchant adventurer to India, China and the Spice Islands and was very generous to the poor in every parish in which he lived or owned property. He also built almshouses in Basingstoke that survive to this day …

There is a picturesque monument to two brothers, Andrew and Paul Bayning. They are shown in the red robes of Aldermen and were both closely involved with the Levant Company …

There are memorials with touching inscriptions. ‘Her noble soul and lovely body joined, were once the wonder and the joy of mankind’ …

Sir William Ogborne was ‘A most tender husband, loving parent and a sincere and kind friend’ …

In his will he left all his property (which included several houses) to his wife, Lady Joyce, along with his ‘coach, his chariot horses, plate, hay and corn’.

The pulpit came to St Olave’s from St Benet Gracechurch when it was demolished in 1868 …

Once thought to be the work of Grinling Gibbons, it is certainly a fine example of 17th century wood carving …

The monument of Dr Peter Turner. It was looted from the bombed out church in 1941 but was finally returned in 2011 having spent some time in the Netherlands! A curator at the Museum of London found out about an upcoming auction listing the statue in 2010, the Art Loss Register investigated, and the bust was removed from the sale …

He was an eminent physician and botanist.

All prewar windows were lost in the bombing and the new windows which replaced them were specially designed to take into account the tall buildings that were springing up in the rebuilding of the City.

Two other churches have parishes which have been joined with that of St Olave to form a united benefice and the Lady Chapel Window on the north side of the church has three lights representing them.

St Olave’s is in the centre and depicts the Virgin and Child. On the left, All Hallows Staining is represented by Queen Elizabeth I with the bells of the church at her feet …

Painstaking work was needed in order to create the gradient of colour from left to right across her dress.

On the right St Katharine of Alexandria represents the former parish of St Catherine Coleman …

Above, in the four tracery lights are depicted more modern types of Christian womanhood : Elizabeth Fry, Florence Nightingale, Josephine Butler and Edith Cavell

As I left by the north door this memorial reminded me of the tremendous sacrifices made during both World Wars by the employees of Wm Cory & Son …

At the outbreak of WW1 in 1914, Cory had a large workforce, many of them skilled as engineers, mechanics, bargees and physically fit labourers. Before conscription was introduced, Cory encouraged its workers to enlist in Kitchener’s Army – an all-volunteer force of the British Army – and guaranteed to keep their jobs open for them. The company also undertook to look after the family of anyone who joined up, setting aside a sum of £25,000 (equivalent to £3 million today) to care for the men and their dependents.

Within a few days of the appeal there were enough men to form the entire D Company of the 6th Battalion of the Buffs – also known as Cory’s Unit. Most of these men came from places like Greenwich, Erith and Plumstead.

There is a photograph of Cory’s Unit which was taken at Aldershot shortly before their departure for France on the 1st of June 1915. Within six months, so many of these young men would be a name on a memorial or buried in a battlefield grave in Belgium or France …

Cory also mobilised its boats in support of the war eff­­ort in both World Wars, losing 17 boats in WWI and 13 in WWII (usually due to German mines, submarine attacks or aerial bombardment).

There is a plaque on the Tower Hill Maritime Memorial relating to one of the boats lost in WW1 – the Sir Francis …

She was torpedoed 4 miles off Ravenscar, North Yorkshire, on a ballast run to the Tyne to pick up coal on 7 June 1917. You may be interested in the diversity of nationalities among the crew :

Wanless, A, master, whose place of birth, residence, and family is not recorded;

de Boer, J, seaman, born in Holland;

Jonsson, John, born in Iceland, resident in South Shields and married to an Englishwoman;

Kato, T, fireman, born in Japan;

Nishioka, B, fireman, also born in Japan;

Poulouch, N, fireman, born in Greece;

Sharp, Joseph, steward, of South Shields;

Talbot, Alfred, engineer’s steward, of Penarth;

Tippett, Albert, engineer, a Yorkshireman resident in Tyneside;

van der Pluym, Johannes Cornelis, seaman, a resident of Amsterdam.

A further 12 crew members survived.

Not all their names appear on the St Olave Memorial, presumably because not all of them were directly employed by the company.

You can read more about the Cory company’s involvement on both World Wars here and here. There is a great blog dealing with colliers and multi-national crews here – it’s also the source of my information about the crew of the Sir Francis.

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‘True Hearts and Warm Hands’ at St Margaret Lothbury.

After the Great Fire of London of 1666 St Margaret’s was rebuilt by Christopher Wren between 1683 and 1692. As some churches around St Margaret’s were demolished under the 1860 Union of Benefices Act, St Margaret’s benefited from acquiring some of the interior furnishings of these buildings. The church now houses an outstanding collection of seventeenth century fittings, many by the sculptor and wood carver Grinling Gibbons. It is one of the few Wren churches that sustained only minor damage during the Second World War.

In 1698–9 the top stage of the tower with large belfry openings and all of the spire were added and this work was probably designed by Robert Hooke. Hooke was Surveyor to the City of London and chief assistant to Christopher Wren, in which capacity he helped Wren rebuild London after the Great Fire.

The church and tower (EC2R 7HH).

The baptismal font, believed to be by Grinling Gibbons (1648–1721), came from St Olave, Old Jewry, after that church was partially demolished in 1887. The font is a carved bowl with cherub heads at each corner and the sides are decorated with Adam and Eve, the dove returning to the ark, the baptism of Jesus and the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch by Philip.

Of the subsequent additions to the church the most splendid is the choir screen, one of only two in a Wren church, erected originally in the Church of All Hallows the Great, Thames St. in 1683-84 …

The screen, along with the tester above the pulpit, was moved to St Margaret’s in 1894 when the Church of All Hallows the Great was demolished, to allow widening of Thames Street and building of the City of London Brewery on the site.

The tester above the pulpit.

The Stuart royal arms are part of the screen which was originally donated by the German merchant Theodore Jacobson in c.1685. The eagle is supposed to refer to Herr Jacobson’s nationality …

The lovely stained glass windows celebrate St Margaret’s links with a number of City Livery Companies and Institutions. The windows were donated by either the Livery Companies or their Masters.

The Worshipful Company of Glovers of London – True hearts and warm hands

The Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers alias Wire Workers’ motto is Amore Sitis Uniti, Latin for Be United in Love (rather sweet!) …

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. The phrase Recte Numerare means to reckon or number rightly in Latin …

The Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers : In God is all our trust, let us never be confounded.

The Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers. The motto Sine Nobis Scientia Languet Knowledge cannot flourish without us – reflects the fundamental role the craft has played in the achievement of science over the past centuries …

The Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers. The Company’s present Coat of Arms was granted in 1709 and incorporates the former arms of the Armourers granted in 1556 with a new coat for the Brasiers. The two mottos are Make All Sure for the Armourers, and We are one for the joint Company. ‘Put on the whole armour of God’ …

There’s much more to see at St Margaret’s so I shall return.

Incidentally, if you are passing near the Royal Exchange check out Paparazzi Dogs

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Roman elephants and Suffragette bread – more fun at the Museum of London.

As regular readers of this blog will know, I love the Museum of London and it’s one of my go-to places if I feel I need a bit of cheering up (and, almost inevitably, I learn something new).

For example, it had completely escaped my notice that the Roman Emperor Claudius used elephants during his invasion of Britain in AD 43. Not far inside the entrance to the Museum is this totally bonkers mural illustrating their use in battle. The beasts look suitably angry at being dragged half way around the world just to stamp on a few ancient Britons …

There’s Claudius on the right on a white horse, possibly declaring ‘missio peracta’ (which Google assures me is ‘mission accomplished’ in Latin). Around the same time a young woman of the Iceni tribe called Boudica was aged about 30.

As Queen Boudica, she is now famous for her 60/61 AD uprising against the Romans. For resisting the appropriation of her property and that of her tribe, the local Roman procurator had her flogged and her daughters raped. Building on the fury of other tribes, she raised an army which went on to capture present day Colchester (Camulodunum) routing the Roman division there in the process. She then headed for Londinium.

Early London was a sprawling settlement, unwalled and defenceless since the Governor, Gaius Seutonius Paulinus, believing his troops to be disastrously outnumbered, made a tactical retreat (i.e. fled). On arriving, Boudica’s army burnt the place to the ground and slaughtered everyone they could find. These skulls on display in the Museum may be evidence of that massacre …

Primarily belonging to young adult men, a large number were found in the ancient Walbrook stream (although it must be said that there are alternative theories as to their origin).

The settlement of Verulamium – today’s St Albans – was next to feel the wrath of Boudica’s revenge as her, seemingly unstoppable, army sacked and burnt it en route to their inevitable confrontation with the now significantly strengthened Governor’s army.

The battle went badly and, rather than face the inevitable humiliation of capture, she is said to have poisoned herself and was buried by her people at a secret location. Some claim she’s buried beneath platform 10 of King’s Cross Station – maybe that’s why there’s a Boadicea Street nearby (N1 0UA)!

‘How’s my driving?’ Here she is with her daughters, driving her chariot, remarkably without the use of reins …

Boudica at Westminster : picture by Paul Walter/Wikipedia

Evidence of Boudica’s destruction of London lives on in a layer of burnt earth and debris known as the Red Layer that is occasionally uncovered during modern developments.

Not an elephant but the skull of a long extinct animal called an Auroch …

Up until the early 17th century you could still have encountered a live one (living in Poland). The one in the museum lived in Essex and was found in Ilford where it would have been part of a large herd. Incidentally, Aurochs live on today in the coats of arms of Romania and Moldova.

There’s a great temporary exhibition at the Museum illustrating the work of contemporary London makers.

I really like this stained glass work entitled Gorilla (2017) by Piotr Frac

And what about this piece by James Shaw entitled Plastic Baroque

And I love this witty Venus (2015) by Claire Partington

Pregnant and casually dressed, she poses with a ciggie in one hand and the dogs’ leash in another.

Now some brave women from a different era, the Suffragettes. This is the banner of the West Ham branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union 1909-1910 …

Suffragette prisoners often removed loaves of bread from Holloway Prison as a souvenir of their incarceration. Now well over 100 years old, this loaf was carefully preserved and gifted to the Museum in 1950 …

Read more about the campaign for Votes for Women and those who fought it here.

What a great poster …

If you’d like to cast you mind back to the heady, optimistic days of the 2012 London Olympics, the Olympic cauldron is on display again …

When you are appropriately Sanitised, the Victorian Walk is always a nice way to complete a visit …

By the way, if you are passing through Temple Station and have a bit of time to spare, get off and make your way to the station roof where you will find this fabulous installation by London-based artist Lakwena Maciver. It’s entitled ‘Back in the Air: A Meditation on Higher Ground’. This is only a small part of it …

I shall have more images for you next week.

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Shakespeare, a quack doctor and a cadaver – my visit to Southwark Cathedral.

Last Saturday I popped in to the wonderful Southwark Cathedral, paid £2 for a photography licence, and walked around entranced.

A few feet from the door is the magnificent Shakespeare Memorial Window, Designed by Christopher Webb, it was created in 1954 to replace another destroyed in enemy action. It shows characters from the Bard’s plays …

The design uses the concept of the Jesse Tree. Prospero in the central light forms the trunk, with Ariel above and Caliban at his feet …

I’m sure you can spot Falstaff …

In the right hand window we find Lady Macbeth ,,,

Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee …

and Hamlet …

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy …

At the base, the last two of the Seven Ages of Man … …

The sixth age slips into the lean and slippered pantaloon, with spectacles on nose … and his big manly voice turning again toward childish treble … Last scene of all, is second childishness … sans teeth, sans eyes sans everything.

All the characters portrayed in the window are identified in this short article.

Below the window is an alabaster sculpture. Made by Henry McCarthy in 1912, it shows the world’s most famous playwright resting outside the Globe Theatre. He usually has a sprig of rosemary in his hand. The aromatic herb rosemary, as Ophelia says to her brother Laertes in Hamlet, is for remembrance; ‘pray, love remember’ …

I was very taken with this remarkably lifelike bust …

This is Lancelot Andrewes (1555 – 25 September 1626), the English bishop and scholar who oversaw the translation of the King James Version of the Bible …

Most importantly, I live in a block of flats named after him.

This effigy of an unknown knight is one of the earliest monumental wooden effigies in England, his mail coat and coif dating him to around 1280. He is believed to be a member of the de Warenne family who were benefactors of the priory …

Thomas Cure was a very important person in Southwark and London. He was the MP locally, and in East Grinstead, as well as the Master Saddler to King Edward VI, Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I. He founded almshouses for the poor and these stood for nearly 300 years in Park Street, until the new railways forced their move to West Norwood. Eventually they were relocated, in the form of modern sheltered flats, to Purley, Surrey in 2006. Cure died in 1588 and this is a ‘cadaver tomb’, reminding us all of our mortality …

Is there anywhere in the world a more impressive monument to a quack ‘doctor’? Lionel Lockyer never qualified as a doctor (he was originally a tailor and a butcher) but became famous for his miracle pills that he claimed included sunbeams as an ingredient …

His tomb has an amusing inscription which includes the words …

His virtues & his PILLS are soe well known…
That envy can’t confine them vnder stone.
But they’ll surviue his dust and not expire
Till all things else at th’universall fire.

The man himself …

Lionel Lockyer. Line engraving by J. Sturt. Wellcome Library collections.

Following Lockyer’s death in 1672, his pills continued to be sold by his nephew, John Watts, in partnership with Thomas Fyge, an apothecary. The pills were sold wholesale in tins of 50 or 100 at a price of 4 shillings for 100. That equates to about two weeks’ wages for a skilled tradesman.

This is the tomb of John Gower. He was the Poet Laureate to Richard II and Henry IV and his head rests on his three best known books, Vox Clamantis in Latin, Speculum Meditantis in French, and Confessio Amantis in English. He died in 1408 …

I finished my short visit looking at a collection of medieval roof bosses. In 1469 the roof of the priory church collapsed and the stone vaulting was replaced by a carved wooden ceiling. This is one from that ceiling and shows the Devil swallowing Judas Iscariot …

There was, of course, lots more to see at Southwark, so I shall return. I went on to have a wander around the area and will report back on that next week.

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More pics from my Instagram collection

I set up my Instagram account because I found I was taking more pictures outside the City and also because some City images didn’t fit into any neat category. You will find details of how to follow me at the end of the blog. Some of the other pictures here I just took for fun.

I hope you enjoy them – I’ll start with evidence as to how the local animals are practicing social distancing …

I love ducks. These two were fast asleep on the Barbican Highwalk in the early morning …

Still there later on (I didn’t wake them up). They are completely relaxed about having their picture taken and obviously like to strike a pose …

Now that people have deserted the City so have the seagulls. This is good news for the little ducklings who often provided the gulls (and the visiting heron) with a tasty snack. There are quite a few families now growing up quickly …

Mum keeps a watchful eye.

Another bird, a moody parrot near Whitecross Street …

I managed to snatch this picture of the Red Arrows flypast accompanied by their French equivalent the Patrouille de France (PAF). They took to the skies on June 18th to mark the 80th anniversary of a famous wartime speech by General Charles de Gaulle …

Still on an aviation theme, every now and then a Chinook helicopter practices landing in the Honourable Artillery Company’s field just off Moorgate. The noise sounds like you are in a Vietnam War movie …

What about this enigmatic message on an optician’s window on London Wall …

On the other hand, I thought these models in an Eastcheap shop looked really creepy …

Like creatures out of a Doctor Who episode.

I suppose these bony teaching aids glimpsed through a Bart’s Hospital window are also a bit disturbing …

High spot of the easing of lockdown – getting a haircut …

Second high spot …

I do like to tuck into a Penguin …

Oh how the simple pleasures of life take on a new importance when you are deprived of them!

The hotel I stayed at in Eastbourne last week had some very interesting items displayed on the walls. I liked these pictures of The Beatles in their early days but they made me feel a bit sad and nostalgic too …

To my delight the hotel also had a reproduction of a very early map of London …

Note particularly Smooth Field and the three dimensional representations of St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London.

This was fascinating …

The picture is entitled …

Ice Carnival held at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, 31st October 1930 in the presence of the Prince of Wales with Mrs Wallis Simpson who was always seated three places from him in public.

There was some nice stained glass too …

The hotel is the Langham and I highly recommend it.

Our Car Park attendant and concierge has green fingers and has improved the environment immeasurably …

I like these golden lions outside the Law Society …

Royal Wedding teabags are still available at this shop on Ludgate Hill …

Hurry hurry hurry while stocks last!

Pharmacy humour …

Another pop group caught my eye – a picture in a music shop window of the Rolling Stones in May 1965. Who would have thought they would still be touring 55 years later (apart from poor Brian Jones, of course) …

And finally you will be relieved to hear …

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The only Catholic church in the City

I have been researching the history of St Mary Moorfields in Eldon Street (EC2M 7LS) and Catholic worship in the City generally.

For over two hundred years, after the 1559 Act of Uniformity, Catholics were forbidden to worship in public until the Catholic Relief Act of 1791. A chapel was opened in 1686, but had to be suspended in 1689. From 1736 there was a chapel in Ropemaker’s Alley but its altar, fittings and crucifixes were ripped out and destroyed in the Gordon Riots of 1780. This was succeeded by a chapel in White Street. Its replacement in 1820 by a large Classical church in Finsbury Circus sponsored by laypeople marked a turning point in the size and stylistic aspirations of Catholic churches. The final church of the first wave of building that succeeded the Relief Act, it was probably the finest in structure and decoration and also the largest Catholic church in London. It was called St Mary Moorfields after its location …

‘Celebration of High Mass on Christmas Day’ – Picture: Wikimedia Commons

In 1884 the Church acquired a huge site off of Victoria Street in west London. The construction of what would be Westminster Cathedral commenced in 1895 and in 1899, when parts of the new building became usable for worship, the Moorfields church was sold and demolished. It was replaced by the present building in Eldon Street which was designed by George Sherrin and opened on 25th March 1903. The name remained the same even though it was no longer in Moorfields.

The entrance is squeezed in between two shops and if you are walking along the north side of Eldon Street it is easy to miss it completely unless you look up and see the Papal tiara over the doors …

View from the South side of Eldon Street.

The facade is of Portland stone with some intricate decoration either side of the entrance. Note the hammer, pliers and three nails representing the crucifixion. Further up there is a scourge and a crown of thorns …

Alongside are scenes from the life of the Virgin by J Daymond …

These two represent the Annunciation and the Nativity.

Above them is a statue of the Virgin and child being crowned by cherubs …

I think the interior is magnificent. The classical como marble columns around the altar come from the old church …

As does the High Altar itself …

It is modelled in the form of a sarcophagus to recall the ancient practice of celebrating Mass on the tombs of martyr-saints in the catacombs of Rome.

The wide becherubed font also made the journey from Moorfields but the cover is from around 1900 …

The church enjoys very little natural light. In fact when the building was erected the floor had to be lowered three feet to protect adjoining buildings’ ‘ancient lights’. As a result the stained glass window is artificially illuminated …

It depicts the Assumption.

One of the side chapels …

The oak wood carving in the church is very attractive and is also by Daymond …

The tympanum above the shrine to St Thomas More at the south end of the aisle portrays his execution in 1920s mosaic style …

It is a lovely little church to visit and when I have popped in occasionally pre-Covid there was a very atmospheric whiff of incense.

You can find details such as mass times on the website.

Incidentally, there were other survivors from the 1899 demolition, four stained glass windows which found their way to St Joseph’s Lambs Passage (EC1Y 8LE), a small chapel in the basement of a former school of 1901. Despite what the sign on the building says, it is not actually a church but a ‘chapel of ease’ to St Mary’s. Such chapels were built within the bounds of a parish for the attendance of those who could not reach the parish church conveniently …

As a result of wartime damage only two windows survive and this is one of them (The Agony in the Garden). I wasn’t able to access the building to take pictures so the image comes from the internet …

Details of the chapel, its history, services and place in the community can be found here.

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Moorgate and the Goddess of Electricity

Firstly, I hope you are all keeping well and safe in these troubled times, and that maybe my little blog occasionally offers a welcome distraction.

The diminished traffic flow in the City, combined with the recent really sunny days, meant that I could more easily incorporate some photography with the walks I take for exercise. I was able to pause for some time to take detailed images of this spectacular building on Moorgate …

I think it’s crowning glory is its stained glass window, back-lit from within so its detail can be seen clearly from outside the building. Unfortunately the building was closed and in darkness when I visited so I have copied an image from the splendid London Inheritance website and blog.

Originally the London headquarters of the Eastern Telegraph Company, the current neo-classical building was built by Belcher & Joass between 1900 and 1903. At first it was called Electra House (named after the goddess of electricity) and the centre section shows her perched on top of the world. A glowing orb behind her head sends out rays across the seas, presumably representing the information the company’s cables help spread around the world. To the bottom left of the centre section is a sailing ship under full sail and bottom right is a lighthouse. Between the ship and lighthouse is a rough looking sea. The side panels show clouds and more rough sea and stars are scattered over the three parts …

The architect John Belcher was a prominent member the Catholic Apostolic Church and it is thought that this influenced the ornamentation of buildings he designed. The Moorgate stained glass window embodies the theme of communications but also symbolism from the Book of Revelations. You can read more about Belcher here.

To the left of the arch is a seated girl accompanied by a young winged genius …

Sculptor: George Frampton

She is transmitting a message.

The figure on the right is receiving a message (could be an iPad!) …

And above the arch …

… a winged Mercury, the god of Commerce, carries a caduceus.

Higher up is a beautiful frieze of four female figures …

Sculptor: William Goscombe John

They represent from left to right Egypt, Japan, India and China. Egypt carries a water jar on her shoulder, Japan is in a kimono and carries a fan, India lifts the veil from her face, and China carries a samisen (a three stringed lute).

At the very top of the building four naked boys support an armillary sphere which is itself encircled by a broad band displaying zodiacal signs …

Here it is in close up …

Some small figures decorate the tops of the pillars. Here are a few of them.

The horned god Pan playing his flute …

A blindfolded Lady Justice holding scales and sword …

I have no idea as to what this one represents …

I hope you found this interesting. I have not covered all the building’s decorations in this blog and there are more inside which maybe I will get access to at some future date.

To end on a more lighthearted note, have you noticed that the pigeons seem to have deserted the City? No humans, no food, I suppose. However, I did spot this lonely chap self-isolating on the old Roman/Medieval City wall …

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Pebbles the cat … and other Underground surprises

High up on a tiled pillar in Barbican Underground Station is this poignant memorial …

For many years Pebbles was a favourite of staff and passengers, often sleeping soundly on top of the exit barriers despite the rush hour pandemo