London Open House 2011: Churches

Open House London to be held over the 17-18 September weekend offers an opportunity to view many of London’s 100 Best Churches.

Although most are open during the year some will have special displays for visitors.

CENTRAL LONDON
St Giles-in-the-Fields (Sat 10am-5pm/Sun12noon-5pm) has an archives display. The Grade I listed Palladian church, by the architect of Woburn Abbey architect Henry Flitcroft, has one of London’s best preserved early Georgian interiors.

St Paul’s Covent Garden (Sat10am-5pm) by Inigo Jones is the Actors’ Church and has been called a Tuscan-style church.

St Martin-in-the-Fields (Sat 10am-4pm) is offering tours of the church and crypt and a bellringing demonstration to those who pre-book on 020 7766 1100. There are also free audio tours. The famous church has recently undergone a £36m renewal programme and won RIBA and Civic Trust awards.

SPITALFIELDS
Christ Church (Sat10am-4pm/Sun1pm-4pm) has a RIBA award for the restoration of the Nicholas Hawksmoor masterpiece.

CITY OF LONDON
St Ethelburga’s (Sat/Sun 10am-6pm) is a 14th-century church restored after being hit by an IRA bomb in 1993.

St Helen’s Bishopsgate (Sat 10am-5pm/Sun1pm-3.30pm) survived both the Great Fire of London and a bombing to be controversially reordered by Quinlan Terry.

St Mary-at-Hill (Sat/Sun 10am-5pm) remains a delight despite the loss by fire of the box pews. On Sunday director of music Robert Smith will play the famous Hill Organ.

St Mary-le-Bow (tours Sat at 10.30am and Sun 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm, 3.30pm) is home of Bow Bells.

St Stephen Walbrook (Sat/Sun10am-4pm) has the controversial central stone altar by Henry Moore under the dome.

CROYDON
St Mary’s Addington (Sun 2.30pm-5.30pm) is at the end of the tram line the burial site of five Archbishops of Canterbury. This is a rare chance to see inside.

CANONS PARK
St Lawrence Whitchurch, Little Stanmore (Sat 10am-4.30pm/Sun11am-5pm) is an amazing continental baroque church rebuilt in 1715 by James Brydges, first Duke of Chandos and now standing in a suburban setting.

STANMORE
St John’s (Sat 2pm-5pm) stands next to the old church which Pevsner called “one of the best ruins in London”. The churchyard has the tomb of WS Gilbert.

HARROW-ON-THE-HILL
St Mary’s (Sun 2pm-5pm) is an ancient church on top of the hill with the famous school. Byron’s daughter Allegra is buried by the door.

KILBURN
St Augustine’s Kilburn (Sat 10am-5pm. Tours 11am, 11.30am) is Pearson’s grand masterpiece used in films.

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