The City Churches of Sir Christopher Wrenby Paul Jeffrey, Paul Jeffery
The Great Fire of 1666 devastated the centre of London, with a loss of old St. Paul's and eighty-six parish churches. Sir Christopher Wren, working with Commissioners appointed by Parliament, was responsible for rebuilding the cathedral and fifty-one of the parish churches, although the immediate need to start rebuilding made his design for an overall replanning of… See more details below
The Great Fire of 1666 devastated the centre of London, with a loss of old St. Paul's and eighty-six parish churches. Sir Christopher Wren, working with Commissioners appointed by Parliament, was responsible for rebuilding the cathedral and fifty-one of the parish churches, although the immediate need to start rebuilding made his design for an overall replanning of the City impossible. The work was funded by a tax on coals brought into the City of London.
Much has been written about Wren's rebuilding of St. Paul's, far less about the other City churches, the principal subject of this book: this is indeed the first modern book to examine them as a whole. Paul Jeffery describes how and when the churches were built, exploring the respective contributions of Wren and of his two principal assistants, Robert Hooke and Nicholas Hawksmoor. Working from the surviving drawings and records and from the evidence of the churches, he explains the principal features common to the churches and their individual features. The result of the work was a unique set of contemporary churches. While not all are of the standard of Wren's masterpieces, such as St. Stephen Walbrook and St Bride's, none is without architectural merit and interest. The second part of the book is a gazetteer of all the churches, including those that no longer exist. The book is heavily illustrated and provides a visual record of all the churches.
Since they were built the Wren churches have suffered steady losses. St. Christopher-le-Stocks was demolished in 1782 to make way for the Bank of England. Others, such as St Dionis Backchurch and St. Antholin Budge Row, were lost to Victorian parish rationalisation. Many were destroyed or badly damaged in the Second World War. Only twenty-three of the original fifty-one remain. These are now under threat again, with the Templeman Report's proposal that only four of the existing churches (none by Wren) should be retained as parish churches. They provide a test case of conservation, sitting as they do in the middle of the City of London. The City Churches of Sir Christopher Wren presents a clear case both for their importance and for their preservation.
- Bloomsbury UK
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.80(w) x 9.80(h) x 1.10(d)
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