Way back in June 2014 I started on my City Churches project to photograph all 56 of the churches within the square mile of the City of London. I’m nearing the end now, with just half a dozen complete churches and a couple of towers left to visit. In recent weeks I’ve looked back at my earlier efforts and can now see the deficiencies in some of my photos. Today I returned to where it all started – St. Botolph without Bishopsgate – to see if I could improve on my original images.
While there I learnt that the church has been restored in the intervening six years, so the paintwork now looks very fresh. I was amazed at how little I took in on my last visit – there are so many lovely architectural details I missed before.
Chatting with the church administrator, I learnt that many changes have been made to St Botolph’s over the years. At one point the organ stood in front of the west window and all the side windows were made of stained glass, so the church would have been much darker than it is now. The roof lantern is also a later addition, from 1820, which adds some much needed illumination.
Unlike many City churches, St Botolph’s survived the Great Fire intact and only lost one window during the Blitz. It didn’t fare so well in 1992 and 1993 when the IRA planted two bombs nearby, losing all its doors and windows and gaining a large hole in the roof. By 1997 though it had been restored and reopened and a decorative window to mark the restoration was installed, although most of the remaining windows were left as plain glass.
13 February 2020