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At Holy Trinity Church, Bow

March 1, 2024
by the gentle author


Holy Trinity in Bow is one of those churches that I often passed by and wondered what it was like inside. The answer is that it is a wonder.

You step through the unadorned entrance to discover a much larger and longer church than the facade led you to expect. The narrow soaring columns and tall, subtly-tinted windows create a huge, breathtakingly light enclosed space that inspires awe. It stops you in your tracks. Then you open your mouth to express your wonder and encounter the unexpected acoustic which resonates like the echo chamber of an instrument at even the smallest sound.

Grade II listed, Holy Trinity was deconsecrated a generation ago and most of the interior stripped out then, which serves now to emphasise the extraordinary quality of this vast empty architectural space.

Built by architects Daniel &  James Austin in 1836-9, the church reflected the aspirations of the wealthy residents of Tredegar Sq and the newly-built surrounding streets. The surviving monuments attest to the most wealthy, those who made fortunes in the Navy or the Colonial Service and returned to the East End to enjoy the benefits. For those in the East India Company, it was a convenient location midway between the company headquarters in Leadenhall St and the East India Docks.

There is an unavoidable plangent and uneasy irony present in confronting these proud memorials in such an austere and ravaged shell, and you leave contemplating the troubling legacy of this history. Almost two centuries later, these are monuments to something other than what those who built them intended.


James Scatcherd, East India Company, Carroll Hessey Scatcherd, 41st Bengal Native Infantry wounded at the Battle of Sobraon, George Ramsden Scatcherd, 24th Regiment of Native Infantry Bombay Army.

William Simons of East India House, Alfred P Simons, Captain Bengal Artillery died of wounds received during the Seige of Lucknow

Holy Trinity Church, Morgan St, Bow, E3 5AA

You can visit Holy Trinity this Saturday 2nd March, 11am-4pm for a vintage interiors show by So Last Century

Holy Trinity is run as the Heritage & Arts Centre, Bow. Click here to visit their website for more information about events

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8 Responses leave one →
  1. Milo permalink
    March 1, 2024

    I hope it is being looked after as it doesn’t look to be in terribly good nick. (That’s a technical term us experts in restoration use when assessing old buildings..)

  2. Barbara permalink
    March 1, 2024

    This is ‘tinglingly’ wonderful content – as most of your articles are. To be able to bathe in the history of your finds is a treasure. Thank you.

  3. Mark permalink
    March 1, 2024

    Insulate it properly, chuck a carpet down, add some loos and showers and a food area, partition and put in beds, and hey bleedin presto, accomodation for the homeless.
    Albeit temporary.
    A new government is coming and they will sort everything……..

  4. March 1, 2024

    ‘Plangent’ is an excellent word.

    I always find deconsecrated churches rather sad. Particularly when they’ve been stripped and no longer have an apparent purpose. If only they could be ‘reconsecrated’ to something else–community, fellowship–anything that might give them life again.

  5. Saba permalink
    March 1, 2024

    Inspired architecture, just wonderful. Built with income raised from the blood of the people of India. I don’t think the founders got God just right. Some of the comments above sounds much more on track.

  6. Mary permalink
    March 2, 2024

    My mother was baptized in Holy Trinity in 1909. Thank you for sharing these photos and the links to more information.

  7. March 6, 2024

    Holy Trinity Church is now a heritage & arts centre used by local residents for personal gatherings, as well as arts, photography and heritage based organisations.
    So Last Century held their vintage furniture fair here last weekend and on Sunday 17 March from 12.30 – 2,30pm join us for our first of many Italian Afternoon Tea with live music. Book your ticket here:
    I hope you can attend.
    Events Team

  8. Victor Evans permalink
    March 12, 2024

    Does look to be in a poor state of repair. Its very sad as I was babtised there and my mum and dad were married there as were several members of my extended family. I was in the cubs attached to Holy Trinity back in the 60s.

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