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Tower of Former Church of St Augustine

A Grade I Listed Building in City of London, London

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Latitude: 51.5135 / 51°30'48"N

Longitude: -0.097 / 0°5'49"W

OS Eastings: 532150

OS Northings: 181110

OS Grid: TQ321811

Mapcode National: GBR QC.CM

Mapcode Global: VHGR0.87L3

Entry Name: Tower of Former Church of St Augustine

Listing Date: 4 January 1950

Last Amended: 10 November 1977

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1079121

English Heritage Legacy ID: 199745

Location: City of London, London, EC4M

County: London

District: City and County of the City of London

Electoral Ward/Division: Bread Street

Built-Up Area: City of London

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): City of London

Church of England Parish: St Mary le Bow Cheapside

Church of England Diocese: London

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Listing Text


(Formerly listed as:

Church tower rebuilt 1680-4 and completed in 1695-6, by Christopher Wren with a spire designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor; church body destroyed in 1941 and spire of 1830 reconstructed by Paul Paget of Seely and Paget, 1966. Square plan.

EXTERIOR: Portland stone tower in three stages with oculus at second stage and rectangular belfry apertures at the third stage, this capped with a cornice, a lacy Baroque pierced parapet and corner pinnacles of Baroque obelisks. Rising behind this is the lead spire, restored in 1967 to Hawksmoor's original design, and featuring curved brackets rising to an open stage with urns and the distinctive elongated onion dome. To the south is a pedimented door, and to the east, exposed rubble walling and quoins at lower stage.

Attached to the north is the Grade II* St Paul's Cathedral Choir School (q.v.) of 1962-7 by the Architects' Co-partnership.

INTERIOR: Stages of the tower include a full height open well stair cases that serves as a fire escape for the attached school. Ladder stair into spire not inspected.

HISTORY: The church had been rebuilt 1680-4 following the Great Fire of 1666, and the tower was completed in 1695-6 with a tall leaded spire that was modified in 1830. However, the body and spire were destroyed in 1941 bombing and a 1953 photograph shows all that remained standing were the bottom two stages of the tower with its four Baroque obelisk finials. In 1966, the spire was reconstructed according to its original design by Paul Paget of Seely and Paget. Drawings survive in the hand of Nicholas Hawksmoor to show that he designed the original spire, with its brackets rising to an open stage with urns and the distinctive elongated onion dome. His drawing c.1695, however, shows the onion dome as an elongated pineapple with the crown serving as an extra finial. This design, but with the onion, not the pineapple, is largely what we see today, although it is an immaculate post-war reconstruction.

The adjacent school was built in 1962-67 and the brief dictated that the new building should incorporate the restored spire of St Augustine and that no part of the school would be higher than its cornice.

Simon Bradley and Nikolaus Pevsner. The Buildings of England. London: The City Churches. Yale University Press, 1998. p.61.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: A 1695-6 Wren tower with post-war restored Hawksmoor spire that forms an ensemble of outstanding special interest. It is one the more admired City church spires with its spire culminating in the distinctive elongated onion dome. It has particularly strong group value being the closest of the City Churches to Wren's Cathedral. Although the most characteristic feature is post-war in date, and the church body is now lost, it remains a special landmark tower, both for its original design and for its strong relationship with St Paul's.

Listing NGR: TQ3215081110

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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