City Spires and Towers #2

In the first post of this series I looked at All Hallows-by-the-Tower. We revisit this church but this time from a different perspective along the Thames river front. This gives us a different story altogether.

All Hallows, St Dunstan’s, St Magnus the Martyr and St Margaret Pattens are this week’s subjects.

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All Hallows-by-the-Tower is barely visible (it’s ringed red) in this picture of the City of London’s business district.

All Hallows has a commanding prospect along Eastcheap and from Tower Hill but that changes completely when it is viewed from Hay’s Galleria or More London – or anywhere along the Thames frontage. The many skyscrapers on view is indeed spectacular – The Gherkin, Cheesegrater, The Scapel, Tower 42, The Walkie Talkie and more.

Yet try looking for the spire of All Hallows among these skyscrapers. Its quite diminutive and easily be missed. Clearly the City’s spires are receding into a forest of towers. Find the small red ring that marks the tiny stump of All Hallows’ spire in the above picture and then understand the great historical loss to London as its City spires vanish from view.

To the west of All Hallows is St Margaret Pattens. Its one of several complete churches remaining from Wren’s original batch of 51. Unfortunately St Margaret’s historical importance is being slowly erased as it becomes more diminutive like All Hallows. Richard Rogers, Renzo Piano and others are extremely notable architects no doubt – however their designs convey little regard for the City’s historic spires.

The following pictures show the varying prospects to St Margaret Pattens.

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St Margaret Pattens’ spire is very visible from Hay’s Galleria.

The skyscrapers are fantastic buildings and places like the Sky Garden are an enormous attraction – but will they be there in say 50 years time? A number will probably have been replaced by even taller structures. Plans are indeed afoot for such instances.

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St Margaret Pattens – it’s spire has almost disappeared in this view of the City.

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St Margaret Pattens/St Dunstan’s look quite big in this cropped view by HMS Belfast, but appearances can be deceptive!

St Dunstan’s is no longer a complete church, having been bombed during WWII yet its spire will likely retain a fair amount of visibility for its quite close to the Thames as the above view demonstrates.

Compared to St Dunstans-in-the-East, St Magnus the Martyr finds itself in a more advantageous situation. It once marked the north end of the old London Bridge and this has facilitated its advantageous location. Yes its sandwiched between two buildings, but the better view from the Thames is what gives this particular spire an essence.

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St Magnus the Martyr by London Bridge

There’s one worrying prognosis that can be derived from these views along the Thames. One day barely any of the above mentioned City churches will be visible from London’s waterway corridor.

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