An occasional saunter through the churches of the Square Mile                                
        An occasional saunter through the churches of the Square Mile

                                 
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          City Temple URC                                          
         
Dove of the Holy Spirit (Hugh Easton, 1957)
                                   
         
City Temple is one of just three non-conformist churches within the limits of the City of London, and sits behind its grand frontage on Holborn Viaduct looking for all the world like the headquarters building of a northern municipality. Indeed, the architects responsible, Lockwood & Mason, designed Bradford Town Hall. When the Temple was constructed in 1874 it was one of the largest non-conformist churches in London, second only in size to Charles Spurgeon's Tabernacle by the Elephant and Castle. The minister responsible here was Joseph Parker, who led a congregation which dated back to the 1640s. The cost was an amazing 35,000, about seven million in today's money.

The frontage is just that, for the church behind was utterly destroyed in the series of bombing raids which laid waste pretty much everything between Holborn Circus and St Paul's Cathedral. The new church behind the frontage was the work of Seely & Paget, responsible for the restoration of many of the other City churches, although of course here they did something quite different. The reconstruction commenced in 1955 and was complete by 1958.

You enter through a foyer which is so much like coming into a cinema that it cannot be unintentional. If you ask at the reception desk, they'll let you see inside the auditorium, and you step through a range of doors beyond into a wide, banked interior. The balcony above provides a low ceiling until the space opens out into vastness and relative grandness. It is all very well done and the little window of the Dove of the Holy Spirit by Hugh Easton above the business end is the icing on the cherry.

Simon Knott, April 2016

location: Holborn Viaduct EC1A 2DE - 1/065
status: working URC church
access: open daily
website

City Temple City Temple

after its destruction by enemy action

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          home   index   map   latest   e-mail   about this site   resources   small print   simonknott.co.uk   norfolkchurches.co.uk   suffolkchurches.co.uk
     
An occasional saunter through the churches of the Square Mile
                               
        An occasional saunter through the churches of the Square Mile