On the South side of Blackfriars Bridge there is a church amongst trees. This is Christchurch Blackfriars Bridge.
This is the south side of the church, showing its open door. I went in. This is a very welcoming church. I passed three separate notices telling me I was welcome. Inside it is calm, warm and light. There are benches to sit on. There are marvellous stained glass windows. They show not saints and Bible stories, but Londoners. They show builders and printers, river workers, and engineers. There is a power station worker looking at a bank of rotary dial telephones, and a queue of people waiting for a red London bus. All these are beautifully done in stained glass.
This church accepts the idea that people might be “spiritual not religious”. Between 12noon and 2pm: they offer a “lunch time silent space”, and there are other events that include meditation and silence.
A detailed history of the church is in British History Survey of London: ‘Christ Church’, in Survey of London: Volume 22, Bankside (The Parishes of St. Saviour and Christchurch Southwark), ed. Howard Roberts and Walter H Godfrey (London, 1950), pp. 101-107. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol22/pp101-107 [accessed 16 January 2022].
Here is how it looked before 1941.
It was completely gutted by incendiary bombing in April 1941. The 1950 “Survey of London” cited above describes it as a “shell”. The present church was completed in 1960, according to Pevsner (The Buildings of England, London 2: South, by Nicolaus Pevsner and Bridget Cherry, page 275). The architects were R Paxton Watson & B Costin.
The church is now surrounded by buildings and trees and is very much alive. Here is the view from the North:
The outside air temperature was 3 degrees C and the paint wasn’t drying. Also I was very cold. I went for lunch in “Greensmiths”in Lower Marsh, and finished the painting there.
Here is work in progress on the sketches, and some maps to show where this church is.
There were some spectacular shadows that day:
The church community hold some of their events in the adjacent pub, the Rose and Crown: