St George in the East
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St George-in-the-East is an Anglican Church dedicated to Saint George and one of six Hawksmoor churches in London, England. It was built from 1714 to 1729, with funding from the 1711 Act of Parliament. Its name has been used for two forms of parish (areas of land) surrounding, one ecclesiastical which remains and one a Civil counterpart, a third tier of local government. The latter assisted public facilities in the late 19th century but ceded its dwindling purposes to the Metropolitan Borough of Stepney so was abolished in 1927. The church was designated a Grade I listed building in 1950.
|St George in the East|
St George in the East seen from the south
|Location||Cannon Street Road,|
|Denomination||Church of England|
|Heritage designation||Grade I|
|Style||Classical (with Palladian and Byzantine elements)|
|Parish||St George in the East|
|Division||Stepney Episcopal Area (Archdeaconry of Hackney)|
|Dean||Dean of Tower Hamlets|
|Priest(s)||Richard Springer, Angus Ritchie & Vienna McCarthy|
In the 1850s, Archibald Campbell Tait, then Bishop of London, appointed a Low Church lecturer, which was contrary to the High Church attitude of the rector and curate. As a protest, there were catcalls and horn blowing, and some male members of the congregation went into the church smoking their pipes, keeping their hats on, and leading barking dogs. Refuse was thrown onto the altar. The church was closed for a while in 1859, and the rector, owing to his poor health, was persuaded by the author Tom Hughes to hand over his duties to a locum.
The church was hit by a bomb during the Second World War Blitz on London's docklands in May 1941. The original interior was destroyed by the fire, but the walls and distinctive "pepper-pot" towers stayed up. In 1964 a modern church interior was constructed inside the existing walls, and a new flat built under each corner tower.
Ian Nairn wrote of it: “A ruin among ruins, in the lost part of Stepney [after the Blitz, and before being blitzed by the Borough Council?] ... The old life has gone ... the new has not yet come ... It makes no difference to Hawksmoor’s bizarre poetry. This is probably the hardest building to describe in London ... This is a stage somewhere beyond fantasy ... it is the more-than-real world of the drug addict’s dream.”
The church still has an active congregation. In May 2015, the parish entered into a partnership with the Centre for Theology and Community (CTC), an ecumenical charity which is based in its East Crypt. Anglican clergy working for CTC now serve the parish, and the second floor is the home to the Community of St George, a group of lay Christians who assist in the worship and mission of the church.
St George-in-the-East is located on Cannon Street Road, between The Highway and Cable Street, in the East End of London. Behind the church lies St George's Gardens, the original graveyard, which was passed to Stepney Council to maintain as a public park in mid-Victorian times. In 1836, the parish of St George in the East was constituted as a Poor Law parish under the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834.
- "A Church Near You". Achurchnearyou.com.
- Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1357779)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
- Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert. The London Encyclopaedia (1983 ed.). Macmillan. p. 729. ISBN 0-333-57688-8.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Ian Nairn, Nairn’s London (Harmondsworth, Middlesex.: Penguin, 1966), pp.161-2
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to St George in the East.|
- Parish website
- The Centre for Theology and Community
- Parish history website
- EoLFHS Parishes: St George in the East
- East and West London by the Rev. Harry Jones. Published by Smith, Elder & Co., 1875
- Outline map of parishes of Stepney in 1903 (area 27)
- St. George's-in-the-East From "The Copartnership Herald", Vol. II, no. 24 (February 1933)