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The Weathervanes Of London

April 6, 2018
by the gentle author

There is no more magical sight to glimpse in a London street on a bright spring morning than that of a gilded weathervane, glinting in sunlight high above the rooftops. At once – in spite of all the changes that time has wrought – you know you are sharing in a visual delight enjoyed by three centuries of Londoners before you and it makes your heart leap.

Consequently, I am grateful to Angelo Hornak who photographed this gallery of magnificent golden weathervanes for his book AFTER THE FIRE, London Churches in the Age of Wren, Hawksmoor & Gibbs published by Pimpernel Press.

Spire of St Mary-Le-Bow, Cheapside, by Christopher Wren

Dragon upon St Mary-Le-Bow, representing the City of London

Arrow & pennant on St Augustine, Watling St

Spire of St Bride’s Fleet St by Christopher Wren

Gridiron on St Lawrence Jewry, symbol of the martyrdom of St Lawrence

Weathervane on St Magnus the Martyr by Christopher Wren

Weathervane on St Michael Paternoster Royal, College St

Galleon on St Nicholas Cole Abbey, moved from St Michael Queenhithe after demolition

Weathervane on St James Garlickhythe

Crown on St Edmund King & Martyr, Lombard St

Key on the Tower of St Peter Cornhill

Cockerell on St Dunstan-in-the-East by Christopher Wren

Comet on St Mary-Le-Strand

Spire of St Martin in the Fields by James Gibbs

Square-rigged ship on St Olave Old Jewry

Flaming red-eyed dragon on St Luke, Old St, described as a flea in popular lore

Weathervane on St Stephen Walbrook by Nicholas Hawksmoor

‘Flame’ on the top of the Monument by Christopher Wren

Photographs copyright © Angelo Hornak

You may also like to take a look at

The City Churches of Old London

The Signs of Old London

10 Responses leave one →
  1. Marc permalink
    April 6, 2018

    Great post with excellent pictures – thank you!

  2. April 6, 2018

    What a complete joy – and a reminder to look up more often!

  3. Greg Tingey permalink
    April 6, 2018

    There’s another superb dragon on top of ( I think ) St James, Bermondsey – clearly visible from a train.

  4. Helen Breen permalink
    April 6, 2018

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, thanks for featuring this amazing collection of weathervanes from Angelo Hornak’s book AFTER THE FIRE. It’s remarkable to think about Christopher Wren designing (with some assistance) about 52 churches after the Great Fire of London of 1666. He lived on to the hardy age of 91.

    I certainly will be more aware to these treasures when next I return to London…

  5. Jamie Surman permalink
    April 6, 2018

    Absolutely wonderful feature and pictures… Thank you as always GA. And a reminder to us all – always look upwards!

  6. Saba permalink
    April 7, 2018

    Is that the ship weathervane in Brian Selznick’s The Marvels? Also, if any Spitalfields Life readers have not read Brian Selznick, you must. A perfect companion to this website.

  7. Marcia Howard permalink
    April 8, 2018

    Wow. Great photographs; and a reminder to self to look up more!

  8. Chris H permalink
    April 10, 2018

    Mmmmm.. There’s a book to get which had passed me by. Thanks for posting about it.

  9. Chris H permalink
    April 14, 2018

    I have now got a copy of the book – highly recommended to anyone who likes church architecture. The photography is exceptional with both excellent general views and really good detail shots. For the latter, the photographer used an astronomical telescope on the camera rather than a conventional telephoto lens to get right up close (hence the quality of the weather vanes in the post). Every church that was rebuilt after the great fire and is still to be seen is included and the 12 churches of the “fifty new churches” project are also in there so you get Hawksmoor’s churches too.

  10. Brian permalink
    April 15, 2018

    Yopu might also be interested in the weathervane on Two Temple Place.

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