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Spires Of City Churches

March 14, 2022
by the gentle author

Spire of St Margaret Pattens designed by Christopher Wren in the medieval style

I took my camera and crossed over Middlesex St from Spitalfields to the City of London. I had been waiting for a suitable day to photograph spires of City churches and my patience was rewarded by the dramatic contrast of strong, low-angled light and deep shadow, with the bonus of showers casting glistening reflections upon the pavements.

Christopher Wren’s churches are the glory of the City and, even though their spires no longer dominate the skyline as they once did, these charismatic edifices are blessed with an enduring presence which sets them apart from the impermanence of the cheap-jack buildings surrounding them. Yet they are invisible, for the most part, to the teeming City workers who come and go in anxious preoccupation, barely raising their eyes to the wonders of Wren’s spires piercing the sky.

My heart leaps when the tightly woven maze of the City streets gives way unexpectedly to reveal one of these architectural marvels. It is an effect magnified when walking in the unrelieved shade of a narrow thoroughfare bounded on either side by high buildings and you lift your gaze to discover a tall spire ascending into the light, and tipped by a gilt weathervane gleaming in sunshine.

While these ancient structures might appear redundant to some, in fact they serve a purpose that was never more vital in this location, as abiding reminders of the existence of human aspiration beyond the material.

In the porch of St James Garlickhythe where I sheltered from the rain

St Margaret Pattens viewed from St Mary at Hill

The Monument with St Magnus the Martyr

St Edmund, King & Martyr, Lombard St

St Michael Paternoster Royal, College Hill

Wren’s gothic spire for St Mary Aldermary

St Augustine, Watling Street

St Brides, Fleet St

In St Brides churchyard

St Martin, Ludgate

St Sepulchre’s, Snow Hill

St Michael, Cornhill

St Mary Le Bow, Cheapside

St Alban, Wood St

St Mary at Hill, Lovat Lane

St Peter Upon Cornhill

At St James Garlickhythe

You may also like to take a look at

In City Churchyards

A View of Christ Church Spitalfields

12 Responses leave one →
  1. March 14, 2022

    I love the reflections in a puddle of St. Bride’s, it’s fabulous. (And you know how I love reflections).

  2. March 14, 2022

    Marvellous writing; excellent photos

  3. Gail permalink
    March 14, 2022

    Such beautiful photographs! Thank you Gentle Author!

  4. Andy permalink
    March 14, 2022

    Truly outstanding. Made me feel soft and gentle. Thank you. Andy

  5. March 14, 2022

    These amazing churches have witnessed so much history. What stories they couid tell in silent voices

  6. Nicholas Sack permalink
    March 14, 2022

    Tremendously good photographs, GA: strong and expressive. You choose unusual vantages – church seen through screen of bare branches; reflected in a puddle – to striking effect. Bill Brandt would applaud…

  7. Jessica Sheetz-Nguyen permalink
    March 14, 2022

    This reflection is superb … writing about church spires is sorely needed in troubled times.

  8. Peter Hart permalink
    March 14, 2022

    Wonderful photos especially the reflected puddle shot. Thank you GA.

  9. Robin permalink
    March 14, 2022

    London is such a beautiful city with such a rich history. Thank you, GA.

  10. Bernie permalink
    March 14, 2022

    In the foreground of the photographof St Augustine, Watling Street there is a very Victorian monument that somewhat resembles the Albert Memorial. I would be very pleased if someone would identify it for me; architect, date and purpose.

  11. Christina Gregoriou permalink
    March 14, 2022

    Beautiful photographs. Love the spire reflected in the water.

  12. Lauretta permalink
    March 14, 2022

    Dear esteemed Gentle Author
    I am extending an invitation to you to travel across the River to the South Bank. I should like to welcome you into the gentle warmth of Southwark Cathedral- founded 606, burnt down, rebuilt again and again, a palimpsest of life on Bankside. There is much to interest you here I think.
    I should love to guide you around its extraordinary and unexpected treasures.
    Best wishes

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