City of London Churches - part one

by Helen Hooker February. 25, 2017 2671 views

The garden in the foundations of St Mary Aldermanbury look quite bare not but I'm sure they'll be a riot of colour later in the spring

I haven't had an opportunity to continue my city churches project since last July so I put that right today.  The City of London, being the financial district, doesn't have many residents so most of the churches in the square mile are closed on Saturdays when the city is so quiet.  However, that didn't stop me visiting a couple of the ones that were bombed during World War II.  

This bust of William Shakespeare stands in the gardens as a memorial to his fellow actors Henry Condell and John Hemmings, who were instrumental in getting his first folio printed.

The church of St. Mary Aldermanbury, like many, was damaged twice.  It was destroyed during the Great Fire of 1666 and subsequently rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren.  Unfortunately, it was gutted again in 1940, during the blitz, and all that remained afterwards were the walls.  Rather than rebuilding a second time, in 1966 the foundations were turned into a garden and the remaining structure was shipped to Fulton, Missouri, where it was rebuilt in the grounds of Westminster College.  It was here that Sir Winston Churchill gave his Sinews of peace speech in 1946, which heralded the start of the Cold War, and the church was reconstructed here as a tribute to him. 

From there I headed to St. Alban, Wood Street, just a few hundred yards away.  Like St Mary's, this church was destroyed in the Great Fire and its replacement was also severely damaged by a WWII bomb.   Rather than rebuilding again the ruins were cleared away, leaving just the tower, which is now a private residence.  

Today it cuts a rather lonely figure, stranded on an island outside the Wood Street police station and the surrounding buildings make it a challenge to photograph well.   I decided to have some fun with my fisheye lens to try and give an impression of the way it is hemmed in on all sides.

It never fails to amaze me what creative effects a fisheye lens can offer

From here I visited two other, rather more complete, churches but I'll save those for a second post tomorrow.  

25 February 2017

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There are 8 comments , add yours!
Becky Brannon 3 years, 9 months ago

#5 - great view!

3 years, 9 months ago Edited
Jay Boggess 3 years, 9 months ago

Fascinating series, Helen!

3 years, 9 months ago Edited
Jean Paul Escalera 3 years, 9 months ago

Nice! What fisheye did you use?

3 years, 9 months ago Edited
Helen Hooker Replied to Jean Paul Escalera 3 years, 9 months ago

Thank you Jeanpaul! I was shooting with my mirrorless set up with the Samyang 7.5mm fisheye. It's a great little lens - small and light. It's manual focus only but that hardly matters with a fisheye as there's so much depth of field, no matter what aperture you're shooting at!

3 years, 9 months ago Edited
Jean Paul Escalera Replied to Helen Hooker 3 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for the reply Helen! I also use a mirrorless system (Fuji X-T1) and I just purchased, on Ebay this week, a Rokinon (same as Samyang) 8mm fisheye. I am looking forward to receiving it Friday. I have never owned a fisheye so looking forward to using it.

3 years, 9 months ago Edited
Phyllis 3 years, 9 months ago

awesome photos!!

3 years, 9 months ago Edited
Timothy Bullock 3 years, 9 months ago

Love William Shakespeare!

3 years, 9 months ago Edited
Kenny H 3 years, 9 months ago

That fisheye made a really spectacular scene

3 years, 9 months ago Edited