Thursday, November 30, 2023

St Alban Tower

London The Unfinished City
St Alban Tower, Wood Street.

Wandering around the City of London, as I do, I often find some intriguing pieces of history or fascinating architecture that I was previously unaware of.

This is how I came to discover the church of St Alban, Wood Street, in the City of London.

London The Unfinished City
The North face of the Tower.

As I approached the church, however, I discovered that the tower is all that remains, and it is now become a traffic island. More than that... it is now a private home.

Brief History

The church was originally of Medieval origin and, possibly, dates back to King Offa of Mercia, who created an Abbey, in 793, and a number of churches dedicated to St Alban.

In the time of King John, who reigned between 1199-1216, it was known as St Alban Wuderstrate.

London The Unfinished City
The South and West sides of the Tower.

Indigo Jones and Sir Henry Spiller, among others, were asked to inspect the church, in 1633, as it had fallen into disrepair. Theor report suggested that nothing could be done to save it, so it was demolished the following year and then rebuilt.

The Great Fire of 1666 thoroughly destroyed the church and it was Sir Christopher Wren who rebuilt it in a Gothic style. It was completed in 1685. 

George Gilbert Scott rebuilt the church, between 1858-9, and added an apse to the building. Something the church had never had before.

During the Blitz, in 1940, the church was severely burnt out, with only the tower escaping unscathed. 

In 1950 the tower became Grade II listed.

In 1965 the body of the church was demolished.

In the 1980s the tower was turned into a private dwelling.

London The Unfinished City
The North and West sides of the Tower.

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