St Nicholas Cole Abbey EC4

St Nicholas Cole Abbey is at 114 Queen Victoria Street, EC4V 4BJ. 

The City of London entry for this church tells me:

The church is dedicated to the 4th century St Nicholas of Myra. The name “Cole Abbey” is derived from “coldharbour”, a medieval word for a traveller’s shelter or shelter from the cold.

It still performs this sheltering function. There is a large squarish space inside, very open and light, with stained glass, tables, gentle murmurings. And there is the wonderful Wren café, a welcoming place. St Nicholas Cole Abbey is an active church, offering “workplace ministry” according to its website.

Yesterday, however, the church and the café were closed. I found shelter from the rain in the overhang of 1 Distaff Lane, Bracken House, and drew this picture.

St Nicholas Cole Abbey, EC4. 16th May 2021, 7″ x 10″ in Sketchbook 10

You see the magnificent trumpet shape of the spire. There is a boat on top! According to the Wikipedia entry:

This [weathervane] came from St Michael Queenhithe (demolished 1876), and was added to the spire in 1962.

Here is work in progress on the picture, and a map:

On sunnier days, I have drawn St Paul’s Cathedral from a bench to the south of the church:

City Churches

This is one of an emerging collection of drawings of City churches. You can see the drawings so far by clicking this link:

St Mary Somerset EC4

In a narrow sliver of land between Upper Thames Street and Lambeth Hill is the tower of St Mary Somerset. This is a Wren church, built in 1886-94. The body of the church was demolished in 1871, leaving only the tower. The tower was listed Grade I in January 1950. It is now being converted into a single private home, according to the website of architects Pilbrow & Partners.

St Mary Somerset, Upper Thames Street EC4, 7″ x 10″ in Sketchbook 10. 11 May 2021, 2pm.

I drew this picture from the footbridge over Upper Thames Street, on the North side, where it becomes Fye Foot Lane.

Map showing the position of St Mary Somerset, and where I was standing.

From this angle, Upper Thames Street is hidden behind the trees. The building on the left of the drawing is 1 High Timber Street. It’s an enormous post-modern building, which looks like offices.

I enjoyed the top of St Mary Somerset. There is no spire, instead there are eight huge stone monuments. The Historic England describes it in the listing: “Parapet with 8 tall pedestals supporting urns at the corners and obelisks in between.” It looks as though it might be a board game, laid out on a huge square board, for giants of immense strength to play.

Top of St Mary Somerset: a fantasy board game?

The sketch took about 45 minutes on location. I completed it at my desk after lunch. The colours are: Phthalo Blue Turquoise, Permanent Yellow Deep, Green Gold, Mars Yellow, Perylene Maroon. Here are snapshots of work in progress.

I have drawn various City churches. I enjoy the way they co-exist with the modern buildings.

All Hallows on the Wall EC2, and 110 Bishopsgate

London Wall is the old Roman wall around the City of London. It is also the name of a street. Here is the church All Hallows on the Wall, drawn from outside the Carpenters’ Hall.

All Hallows on the Wall, with 110 Bishopsgate behind, drawn 30th April 2021, 12:35. 10″ x 8″ in Sketchbook 10

I drew All Hallows last year, from across the street, see this post:

Viewpoint of the drawing.

Today’s drawing was with a viewpoint looking east along London Wall, towards the tower blocks on the eastern part of the City. The tower block on the right is “Salesforce Tower” also known as “Heron Tower” and “110 Bishopsgate”. It was completed in 2011. The architect was Kohn Pedersen Fox.

The colours in the drawing are Phthalo Blue Turquoise, Perylene Maroon, Mars Yellow. The bright green is Green Gold. There some Iridescent Silver on the towers.

Here is work in progress on location.

All Hallows by the Tower EC3

This is the view looking South along Seething Lane. The ground falls away quite steeply here, towards to the Thames. On the left, out of the picture, is “Ten Trinity Square” a 2017 Four Seasons development in the 1912-22 offices of the Port of London Authority. Behind me as I drew this picture was an incongruous 21st century cubical building, which seems to house utilities or a power plant of some sort, possibly communicating with chambers below ground. From time to time it emitted whirring and pumping noises.

Above ground is Seething Lane Gardens, and this view of All Hallows by the Tower.

All Hallows by the Tower, 7″ x 10″, 22 March 2021, in Sketchbook 9

All Hallows by the Tower describes itself as “the oldest church in the City”, referring to evidence that it existed 675AD. It is near the Tower of London and former docklands. Like many City Churches, it has been reconstructed several times in its long history, most recently after severe bomb damage in the 1939-45 conflict. The tower you see in my drawing was built in 1955, and the “spiritedly Baroque copper-clad spire” (Pevsner1) was added in 1958. Here is a photo during the reconstruction process. You see the Tower of London in the background to the right.

Church of Allhallows-by-the Tower and view along Great Tower Street to the Tower of London, 1955. View eastward, with Byward Street to the left. Picture credit: Ben Brooksbank, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20592839 [Permission details: Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0]

For comparison, here is the same view today. I had to stand a bit further back to get the whole tower in shot.The single lamp-post in the distance in 1955 is still there today, but now it is joined by a host of other street furniture. And there’s a tree in front of the church now.

All Hallows by the Tower, 29 March 2021

Once again the marvellous “A London Inheritance” site has a fascinating article on the church.

The church is on Byward Street, which becomes Tower Hill.

The building to the left of my drawing is number 16 Byward Street. There’s an “All Bar One” at ground level. According to Pevsner1 below this building is the former “Mark Lane Underground Station” (1p440). This was closed when the current Tower Hill Station replaced it in 1967.

The building to the right, with the dark vertical fins, is ‘Knollys House’, described by Pevsner1 as “a slab” (p439). The architect was Howard, Souster and Fairburn. The fins are a 1985 refurbishment.

Seething Lane Gardens, where I was sitting, were re-opened in 2018 after a two year closure. According to the City of London Press release at the time (6 July 2018)

“Rainwater harvested from the roof of the 10 Trinity Square will be used to irrigate the garden. The garden has a long association with the 17th century diarist, Samuel Pepys, who lived and worked in the Navy Office which once stood on the site. It is marked by a Blue Plaque and a bust of Pepys by late British sculptor Karin Jonzen, which stood in the former garden, has been relocated as a centrepiece of the new garden.”

No mention is made of the cubical structure which makes the whirring noises. I must investigate further.

Here is work in progress on the drawing:

REFERENCES

  1. Pevsner: London 1, The City of London by Simon Bradley and Nicholas Pevsner 1997 edition.
  2. Mark Lane Station on an 1888 plan: “This file is from the Mechanical Curator collection, a set of over 1 million images scanned from out-of-copyright books and released to Flickr Commons by the British Library, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32674842”

St Magnus the Martyr

Here is a view of St Magnus the Martyr, a Wren church next to London Bridge.

St Magnus the Martyr, 7″ x 10″, in sketchbook 9

St Magnus Martyr has a foundation that goes back before the first stone bridge across the Thames, which was built in 1209.

The church of St Magnus Martyr escaped the fire of London Bridge in 1633. However it was one of the first churches to be destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. It is only a few hundred yards from Pudding Lane, where the fire started. The present church was built 1671-76 to the designs of Christopher Wren. The steeple which I have drawn was added in 1703-6.

At this time, the road going to London Bridge was just to the left (west) of the Church. The clock which you see in my picture, bottom left, hung over the road. I have all this information from the extensive history set out on the St Magnus Martyr website, which includes this marvellous story about the clock:

It was presented to the church in 1709 by Sir Charles Duncombe (Alderman for the Ward of Bridge Within and, in 1708/09, Lord Mayor of London). Tradition says “that it was erected in consequence of a vow made by the donor, who, in the earlier part of his life, had once to wait a considerable time in a cart upon London Bridge, without being able to learn the hour, when he made a promise, that if he ever became successful in the world, he would give to that Church a public clock … that all passengers might see the time of day.” The maker was Langley Bradley, a clockmaker in Fenchurch Street, who had worked for Wren on many other projects, including the clock for the new St Paul’s Cathedral.

The current London Bridge was built 1825-1831. It is a little upstream (west) of the old London Bridge, so the approach road no longer goes past St Magnus Martyr.

The crane in my picture is at the junction of Gracechurch St and Eastcheap, next to Monument Station. It occupies the whole width of Gracechurch Street. It appears to be lifting concrete blocks onto the top of the building that was, for a short while, House of Fraser.

I drew this from a deserted platform, high up near the river Thames.

Inked on location, coloured back home. The outside air temperature was 4 degrees C.

St Albans, Wood Street, EC2

Here is the tower of the former church, St Albans. It stands firmly in the middle of Wood Street, in the City of London.

35 Wood Street. Tower of the former St Albans. 8″ x 10″

This is no longer a church. It’s listed as residential: some lucky person lives in there!

  • Foundation:medieval
  • Rebuilt 1634
  • Burnt down in the Fire of London 1666
  • Then rebuilt to a design by Christopher Wren 1685
  • Restored to designs by George Gilbert Scott 1858-9
  • Pinnacles replaced 1879
  • Then destroyed in the Blitz 1940
  • Listed Grade II* 1950

Here’s a link with more information about this building, including pictures of what it used ot look like.

St Alban, Wood Street: an old library book and a lonely church tower

Eglwys Jewin, the Welsh Church, from Golden Lane Estate

On a glorious sunny Sunday, the sun lit up the roof of the Welsh Church.

Eglwys Jewin, the Welsh Church, from Golden Lane Estate.

This is the view from the Golden Lane Estate. Here is a map, and an annotated image to show which building is which. The arrow on the map shows the direction I was looking.

I was sitting next to a beech tree, Fagus Sylvatica Dawyck. A small notice at the base of the tree informed me that it has been planted on the 9th December 1989, to commemorate 800 years of the Lord Mayoralty. By co-incidence, this is the same anniversary that was commemorated by the bollard in my previous post. Here is a picture of the planting ceremony, kindly provided by Billy Mann from his Golden Lane Archive.

Fagus Sylvatica Dawyck, Beech Tree on the Golden Lane Estate, being planted.
Photo courtesy of Patsy Cox and used with permission. The photographer was standing almost exactly where I sat to draw my picture.

The tree has grown strongly in the last 30 years. It surges out of its metal hoops, and pushes the notice aside.

The Golden Lane Estate is a busy place. Many people passed by on the nearby paths. The tree and I were on a raised area, above parked cars. Some people were on foot, one was in a wheelchair, and there were several groups of cyclists. One person had a dog. This was a small dog, the same size as my sketchbook. I can say that with certainty, because, while the person was occupied on their mobile phone, the dog dashed onto my dais and plonked itself foursquare on my sketchbook. What to do?

I must have shouted out, because the person looked up briefly from their phone. I glared at the person, and shooed the dog away. The person uttered a perfunctory ‘sorry’ and continued their conversation. “No, no, it’s alright,” they said into the phone, “it’s just that Tabatha…”. They didn’t ask me if it was alright. I looked down at my drawing. It was alright.

I have drawn this church before. It was built in the 1960s. More information about this interesting building is on my previous posts:

This drawing took two hours. It is 25cm by 16cm, 10 inches by 6½ inches on Arches 300gsm watercolour paper. The main colours are Fired Gold Ochre, Mars Yellow, Phthalo Turquoise, and Perylene Maroon, with some Prussian Blue for the shadows.

This is the wonderful three dimensional map of the Golden Lane Estate, which is on the South end of Stanley Cohen House on Golden Lane. It has West at the top because that’s the direction you are facing when you are looking at the map.


St Bartholomew the Great: Cloth Fair

Cloth Fair is a small street near Smithfield, EC1.

Just South of Cloth Fair is the ancient church of St Bartholomew the Great. I sketched this church from Bartholomew Passage, shown on the map above. Later in the week, I sketched it from the South West side.

St Bartholomew the Great is an ancient church, founded 1123, along with the nearby hospital of St Bartholomew, now called Barts Health NHS Trust.

There is a labyrinth of alleys in this area. As I was sketching in Bartholomew Alley, a woman reached the North end of the Alley, staring at her phone. She rotated through 36o degrees, still looking at the phone. Anxious and frustrated, she rushed along Bartholomew Alley, passed me and stopped. Her plight was so desperate that she was going to abandon the instructions of the phone, and ask a stranger for directions. She asked me if this was the right way for the hospital. I said that it was, but it was complicated that way. “If you are in a hurry,” I said, “you’d best go back the way you came…”. She was in a hurry. She uttered an expletive, and set off in the direction I’d indicated.

Then she remembered her manners and paused, turned to face me, and said “Thank you for the information”.

Here are some maps of the new “Barts Square” development, showing the location of the second sketch.

I have sketched often in this area, which is changing rapidly. I am still learning my way around. Here are some of my sketches round here.

Barts Square, West side

Today I went to try out “Halfcup”, a new coffee place which has opened on Bartholomew Close. It’s part of the new “Barts Square” development. These are new buildings in an area that was previously St Bartholomew’s Hospital. Some of the external features of the original hospital buildings have kept, as you see in the … Continue reading “Barts Square, West side”

Barts Square, Butchers’ Hall

Continuing my exploration of Barts Square, EC1, today I drew Butchers’ Hall. Butchers’ Hall is the building with the arched windows, in the centre left of the picture. It is the headquarters of The Worshipful Company of Butchers. This livery company is very old, the Arms were granted in 1540 and the charter by James … Continue reading “Barts Square, Butchers’ Hall”

A concert at St Bartholomew the Great

Here is a post-card sized sketch of people listening to the concert. It felt as though the stones were listening too. Pen and ink in small Seawhite journal, about 20 mins.

St Vedast-alias-Foster, EC2

Here is the Anglican Church of St Vedast-alias-Foster, in the City of London, viewed from Priest’s Court.

St Vedast-alias-Foster
Memorial stone to Petro, Major Wladimir Vassilievitch Petropavlovsky

Before I drew this, I paused a while in the Fountain Court, a tranquil courtyard next to the church. In the shadow, there is a monument to “Petro”, Major Wladimir Vassilievitch Petropavlovsky. His friends awarded him the epitaph “This was a Man”. I had a look online to see if I could find out more about this person.

He was a member of the Special Expeditionary Force in the 1939-45 war in Europe. This was an organisation formed for espionage in Nazi occupied areas. I can find the record quoted, but the “National Archives” link is not working at present. There is little online that I can find.

Downloaded from http://www.academia.edu, from a list compiled by Eliah Meyer.

However he did write a book, under the name, “W Petro”. I have it on order, so I shall find out more about this interesting character.

The drawing took an hour and 45 minutes. Here are some photos of work in progress.

Fountain Court, I found out afterwards, is named not after a fountain, for there is none, but after a pub that used to be in the area.

All Hallows on the Wall

London Wall is the old Roman Wall around the City of London. It is also the name of a road. In normal times London Wall is a very busy road, an arterial route in the City, full of buses and cars and bikes, with people thronging the pavements looking at mobile phones. Now it is empty, and you can see the scenery. Here is a view All-Hallows-on-the-Wall, sketched from the opposite pavement, outside Deutsche Bank. The church occupies a narrow site, between the present-day road and the old London Wall.

The “Friends of City Churches” site says: “The previous church on this site escaped destruction in the Great Fire but was rebuilt by George Dance the Younger in 1765/67. He was just 24 years old, but achieved an exquisite small interior of neo-classical simplicity regarded by Betjeman as one of the most successful of the London interiors.”

The Church is only open at certain times, and in the pandemic not atall. It has been the headquarters of various groups seeking to help people. Currently it is the headquarters of “XLP” and has their banners outside. Here is an extract from the XLP website:

“XLP is about creating positive futures for young people growing up on inner-city estates, struggling daily with issues such as family breakdown, unemployment and educational failure, and living in areas that experience high levels of anti-social behaviour and gang violence. Every year XLP helps thousands of young people recognise their full potential. We believe positive, long-term relationships can restore a young person’s trust in people, nurture the belief that things can change and encourage them to set positive goals and work hard to achieve​ them”

Here is work in progress on the sketch. See how empty the road is.

You can see the old London Wall under the big tree. Here is a picture from over there near the church.

Old London Wall is on the left. The modern street called “London Wall” is on the right. All Hallows main entrance is in the centre, below the tree. I did my sketch from the pavement on the other side of the road, on the right. The pale-coloured offices there are Deutsche Bank.

Sketch took about an hour, drawn and coloured on location.