We ended part one of this special double feature on London’s best small churches with a look at Christ Church in Spitalfields, one of the greatest works of baroque architect Nicholas Hawksmoor.
St Mary Woolnoth is another of Hawksmoor’s churches. This one’s positioned on a narrow corner site next to Bank station.
Here, Hawksmoor creates an effect of massive strength by using heavy rustication and two bulky square towers fused into a single block.
Go inside though and it’s a surprisingly delicate space, with four slender columns supporting a cornice and much of the original woodwork.
We all know that Sir Christopher Wren left his mark with many fine churches as well as St Paul’s Cathedral. One of the best is not his best known: St Anne & St Agnes, a modest red brick church on Gresham Street.
It’s now home to a Lutheran community and has a strong musical tradition. Its Greek cross design creates a marvellous open space – a church devoted to preaching, where altar and pulpit can be seen from everywhere.
A good hotel choice not far from both the above churches is Threadneedles.
Our final “secret church” is right near the hustle and bustle of the West End. Just off Oxford Street is All Saints Margaret Street, built in a High Victorian Gothic style with all the bells and whistles.
Anything to enhance the ‘beauty of holiness’ has been stirred into the mix; polychrome brickwork, gleaming encaustic tiles, marble, gilded woodwork and stained glass. It’s utterly over the top but rather marvellous!
A solid hotel in this area – if cost is no object – is the recently-refurbished Langham which London Hotels Insight has visited: a hotel also much loved by Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts and rumoured to be haunted!
Photo credits: Steve Cadman’s Flickrstream and Threadneedles Hotel.