The London Undone ‘City of London Churches’ podcast series:
A journey around the magnificent and many churches of the City of London.
Learn about their histories, architecture, associations, features and their spiritual lives today.
Each episode will be released weekly during 2019. Either hear each episode by clicking on the main image on the HOME page or scroll down this page to listen them.
Before we get properly started with this series it is worth listening to this introduction. Here you will learn about the broad history of the City of London churches and get some useful background information on this subject. Hopefully it will help you appreciate and understand them a bit more and will give you some context.
1. This first episode tells the story of All Hallows by the Tower. Is this the oldest church in the City of London? Hear about its many American connections and its strange ceremonies.
With thanks to Adey Grummet at All Hallows by the Tower.
2. This week we head to St Mary Woolnoth: austere on the outside, cosy on the inside. This is the only church in the City of London that is the work of Nicholas Hawksmoor.
With thanks to Melina Herman from the Cosy Coffee Corner and Tony Tucker from the Friends of the City Churches and the author of The Visitors Guide to City of London Churches.
3. Listen to the sounds and the special ceremonies at St Magnus the Martyr. Find out why the congregation takes its prayers to London Bridge. With thanks to Brian Evans from the Friends of the City Churches, Fr Philip Warner, Alex Rayner and Tyler Hills from the church.
4. The tower of St Magnus the Martyr contains 12 bells cast in the now defunct Whitechapel Bell Foundry. In this episode, the unusually named Ancient Society of College Youths tell us about the churches wobbling tower and the skills needed to ring them. With thanks to Henry, Ryan and Swaz from the Society.
5. Another Christopher Wren church, St Margaret Pattens today is dwarfed by the tall buildings around it. Nevertheless its tall lead spire still pricks the City skyline and retains its elegance. Hear about its association with the death of Charles I, King and Martyr… and some submariners. Thanks to Church Watcher, Becky Banfield and Christopher Moore from the church.
6. Alongside a busy City road stands a ruined Christopher Wren church with plants growing inside it. Listen and you’ll find that this is a church with a new and different mission. With thanks to Marion Blair from Friends of City Gardens and Tony Tucker from the Friends of the City Churches.
7. The movement and colours of the magnificent modern windows of this Christopher Wren church are a sight for sore eyes as the scenes they depict slowly emerge the more you look at them. Look closely at another window and you’ll see the story of local man Dick Whittington. He was real!
With thanks to Alexandra Epps, City of London Art Guide and Steve Welsh, Church Watcher.
8. This small cosy church is full of quirky features and unusual associations. Tune in to hear about Shakespeare, weird graffiti, celebrity weddings, heralds and women playwrights. On top of that, a warm welcome and rousing music awaits you in this Welsh Church from its congregants and its vicar, whether you speak the language or not. With thanks to the warm welcome from Aneirin Glyn and his church congregants and to Signe Hoffos from the Friends of the City Churches.
9. Don’t overlook this small City of London church with some unusual features, old and new. It’s also the home of a rare ecumenical community.
10. Q: What do a Scottish saint, Shakespeare, the Indian Orthodox Church and a King’s wardrobe all have in common?
A: St Andrew by the Wardrobe. This is another Christopher Wren church. Approached from the north it is hard to find through alleyways but from the south it looks like a castle on a hill.
With thanks to Fr Abraham Thomas from the Indian Orthodox Church and Judy Stephenson from the Friends of the City Churches.
11. One of three remaining churches dedicated to St Botolph in the City of London, this one may seem plain on the outside but it is full of Georgian surprises inside! Tune in to hear the Scottish style acapella singing by the Presbyterians who use the church every Sunday.
12. Hidden behind bushes and trees, the red bricks of St Anne & St Agnes can only be glimpsed, but push your way through and you’ll be rewarded by architectural beauty and musical delights.
Thanks to Jan Kerilis and Harry Bennet from the VCM charity and church watcher Judy Guy Briscoe from the Friends of the City Churches
13. The church of St Peter upon Cornhill is hidden in plain sight and it’s also one of a few Christopher Wren churches to be left unscarred by the Blitz. Step inside and hear more about its history as well as the mandarin speaking congregants who worship here today.
With thanks to Becky Banfield from the Friends of the City Churches and Henry Eatock Taylor from the Mandarin Church at St Peter upon Cornhill.
14. This tiny medieval church survived the Great Fire and the Blitz but in the 1990s it was very badly damaged by an IRA bomb. Step inside for some peace and reconciliation. Thanks to Michael Young from the Friends of the City Churches
15. The Dutch Church is one of the most hidden of the City churches and one of the newest… but its history stretches back to the 16th century and its internal features are extraordinary.
16. You have to travel to another continent to find St Mary Aldermanbury, but here you’ll find wildlife, horses, birds, swamp cypress trees and a memorial to those who brought us William Shakespeare.
With thanks to Marion Blair from the Friends of the City Gardens.
17. By some miracle, St Martin’s is one of the most original of Christopher Wren’s churches in the City of London and is used today for traditional Anglican services as well as for Chinese gospel singing worshippers. Tune in to hear more about it’s bread shelves, pendulum-like chandelier from the West Indies, palindromes and creepy crypt. Thanks to St Martin within Ludgate and the Elim Chinese Gospel Church
18. St Michael Cornhill looks like like all the other 18th century City churches on the outside, but walk inside to find a church full of Victorian gothic details.
Thanks to City Guides Alexandra Epps, Jill Finch and Church Watcher Steve Welsh.
19. Just outside the eastern gate of the City of London, the welcoming church of St Botolph without Aldgate hides London’s oldest organ. Hear it played and enjoy its Georgian surroundings.
Thanks to Church Watcher Becky Banfield, Rev Laura Jørgensen and Director of Music, Shanna Hart from St Botolph without Aldgate.
20. Prominently placed on Guildhall Yard, this grand church has strong links with the City of London Corporation and the livery companies. Step inside for ceremonies, symbols and sensational stained glass windows. Thanks to Alexandra Epps from Art in the City, Tony Tucker from the Friends of the City Churches and Canon David Parrott from St Lawrence.
21. Start your pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela here, but before you leave don’t forget to listen to the church’s famous bells and look for the mummified corpse hiding in the tower.
Thanks to Bell Ringer Dickon Love, Church Watcher Susan Konowich and Rev Tim Handley from St James.
22. St Vedast Alias Foster has a secret garden containing an ancient Syrian rock familiar to Agatha Christie, a Roman pavement and a memorial to a Russian soldier who is described thus: “This was a man”.
With thanks to Jill Finch and Tony Tucker from the Friends of the City Churches.
23. St Mary Aldermary is one of the few 17th century gothic churches you’ll find in the City of London. At lunch you’ll hear the hum of local workers enjoying their break but at the start and end of the day the relaxed breath of a meditation group.
Thanks to Keith Billinghurst from the Friends of the City Churches and Rev Paul Kennedy from Moot
25. No other City of London church is as surprising as this one. Its bleak and foreboding exterior betrays its crisp classical and bright interior. Thanks to Tony Tucker from the Friends of the City Churches.