Monday, 5 January 2015

Strange places in London.

I was born in London. I've lived here my entire life, I work here, my friends are here so you'd think that there wasn't much in London that'd take me by surprise... You'd be wrong.

In fact the city is full of surprises, mysteries and unusual places you just wouldn't expect to find.
London's past and present are are a mix of  triumph and disaster. The city has gone from being a small Roman town to the massive super city it is now. With over 300 languages spoken, over 8 million residents and almost 2000 years of history its not surprising that the city has a lot of lesser known oddities that even lifelong residents have never heard of.

One of my all time favourite lesser known places in London would have to be Saint-Dunstan-in-the-East.

A building that underwent multiple disaster to become London's secret garden.

The church was built almost a millennia ago in 1100 AD but for some reason it would seem that fate had other plans for Saint Dunstan. For you see.. the building was never able to survive.
In 1391 due to technical problems with the building repairs took place costing £2400 which would be a fortune today.

After when all seemed well the Great Fire of London broke out in 1666. The fire lasted 4 days destroying over 13200 houses and 87 churches. 

Saint Dunstan was not spared and was severely damaged however rather than rebuilding the church from scratch it was decided to patch whatever could be fixed and was finally fixed in 1671. 
But the ill fated church yet again needed extensive repairs in 1817 as it was discovered that the roof was to heavy and it was slowly unbalancing the walls.  It was decided to re-build the church from the arches up but the damage proved to severe and the entire building was taken down and re-built not re-opening until 1821. 

As everything seemed to be the way it should be and Saint Dunstan was fit for use the final disaster struck. 

In 1941 a Luftwaffe bomb struck the unlucky church finally destroying the entire east and west walls. 

After the war it was decided not to re-build this church and in the 1960's it was turned into a park.
in 1971 trees, a lawn and benches were added.
While the building now looks like something out of a post apocalyptic horror film it is still alive and continues to inspire those who know its tucked away whereabouts. 

Aside from a few benches the church looks as though it has been unaffected by the industrialisation and modernisation of the modern city. Even though the tip of the Shard can be seen gleaming in the sun, Saint Dunstan is very much in its own little world. 
Not only is it an amazing place to go for a lunch break for the local office workers, it is also an incredible place to do photoshoots. As seen in my online vintage company Regimental.

This amazing monument to an older London still lives as a place of worship too, with services conducted in the open air on special occasions such as Palm Sunday.

Amazingly dispute the Church's dramatic and unfortunate history, like the very city itself. Saint--in-the-East refuses to give up its place in history and I hope now all the misfortunes have run there course and this secret landmark will stay with us for ever. 

1 comment:

  1. It's such a great place, thank you for introducing me to it!


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