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The Secrets Of St Anne’s Limehouse

September 9, 2023
by the gentle author


Click here to book for my tour through September and October


Tomorrow, Sunday 10th September, I am having a bookstall in Limehouse Town Hall from 12-6pm as part of Limehouse Creates. Please come and say hello, and take the rare opportunity to visit St Anne’s which is open to the public at the same time.


To me, St Anne’s Limehouse has always been the most mysterious of Nicholas Hawksmoor’s churches. So it was the fulfilment of a long-held ambition when I was granted the opportunity to visit the hidden spaces – from the secret chambers high up inside the tower, graven with eighteenth century graffiti, all the way down to the depths of the crypt which harbours the relics of a World War II Air Raid shelter.


Chamber in the tower with a wall of eighteenth century graffiti

Staircase winding ever upward

The workings of the clock with the names of clock-winders chalked on the door

Ladder up to into the tower

Door into the roof

Inside the roof

View from the rear roof towards the tower

In the gallery

In the gallery

In the gallery

Plasterwork above the gallery

Stairs to the gallery

Lamp bracket in the rear vestibule

Clock hand in the shape of an anchor in the vestibule

The font

In the crypt

St Anne’s, Limehouse

You may also like to take a look at 

The Secrets of Christ Church, Spitalfields


Click here to discover more about this autumn’s blog course

11 Responses leave one →
  1. September 9, 2023

    Gorgeous photographs! Wish I was there.

  2. Ellen Savage permalink
    September 9, 2023

    The photo taken inside the roof is beautiful, and I’m assuming that there has been impressive restoration up there. Thank you for these photos. The stunning engineering and design, and the building’s rich history need to be known in this jaded time.

  3. September 9, 2023

    What wonderful atmospheric photos!

  4. Bob Gladding permalink
    September 9, 2023

    Thanks GA, always wanted to see the interior with the font where my grandmother was baptised in 1867. Her father was a Vestryman (Churchwarden) there in the 1870’s.

  5. September 9, 2023

    Just wonderful.

    Your talents are so very welcome, cherished, there’s so many from you but this is a fave.

    They remind us of the happy house, when our london crew at arch 10 was a place of greatness.

    As for the madhouse at the other number 10…

  6. Robin permalink
    September 9, 2023

    What utterly gorgeous photos. They evoke the sense of mystery you describe, GA. A sense of architecture in the service of connecting us mere humans to something timeless and sublime.

  7. September 9, 2023

    Great photographs.

    Here’s an off-piste art link that the photo’s made me rememberf – Michael Simpson’s paintings of ladders and leper squints, confessionals and benches.

  8. Sonia Murray permalink
    September 9, 2023

    What beautiful plaster ceiling moldings, GA! The bucket window openings to bring in air and keep out rain are an architectural feature I’d never seen before. Thank you!

  9. Catherine permalink
    September 10, 2023

    What great photos! I’ve only seen the outside but hope to visit the interior one day. The anchor-shaped clock hands are a wonderful reminder of St. Anne’s proximity to the water. Thank you for posting these images.

  10. Rob Cherry permalink
    September 10, 2023

    Lovely photos, the clock at St Anne’s was our living room clock for 20 years, as our windows on Gill Street gave us a wonderful view. Now living in Haarlem in the Netherlands with another church clock tower keeping us connected with chimes throughout the day.

  11. Geraldine permalink
    September 10, 2023

    Thank you for your evocative photos which compelled me to visit the Limehouse event today. Having an historical interest in the area, inspired by discovering ancestral connections, it meant a lot to me to be able finally to go inside St Annes. I even took the tour up to the Bell Tower and rang a bell. That’s a first for me! I’m sorry that I didn’t get to meet the Gentle Author but I did have a very interesting chat about the history of the area with one of the stall holders. I will be back!

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