After my very successful tour of Highgate Cemetery I decided that I would like to cross off all the so-called “Magnificent Seven” cemeteries in London, starting with Brompton. Opened in 1840 over 200,000 people are buried here and it is the only cemetery in the country managed by the Royal Parks on behalf of the nation. At over 40 acres it was specifically designed to resemble the layout of an open air cathedral and has some stunningly impressive architecture as well as being the final resting place of a large amount of interesting and notable people.
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As I was in the Shoreditch area by the time I’d finished my planned Open House London visits I decided to have a wander around and look at some of the street art the area is famous for – with apologies that I didn’t make note of where exactly each photo was taken, here are some of my favourites.
I visited Sandys Row Synagogue in Spitalfields as part of Open House London and was impressed both by the warm welcome and the interior which is much more beautiful than its exterior would suggest. The building started out as L’Eglise de L’Artillerie (the Artillery Church) in 1766 being consecrated as a synagogue in 1876 for the Dutch Ashkenazi Jews, economic migrants who had begun moving to the area in the 1840s.
The Masonic Temple inside the Andaz Hotel on Liverpool Street was the only place during Open House London where I was required to queue to get in. When the hotel was sold for refurbishment it was so run down that the previous owners had no idea that this Grade II listed marble temple built in 1912 was boarded up behind a fake wall.
I went on a tour of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as part of Open House London. This was one of my I’m in the area so let’s see what it’s about picks and it turned out to be very interesting. The School was founded in 1899 and based elsewhere but their present home dates from 1926, officially opened in 1929.
Fitzrovia Chapel is another place I visited as part of Open House London last year, somewhere that had been on my radar since seeing some pictures on Instagram, and I was pleased to have my expectations exceeded. Designed by John Loughborough Pearson in 1891 it was built as a tranquil space for the staff and former patients of Middlesex Hospital but by the time the chapel was finished and opened in 1929 the hospital had been demolished.
Guildhall is one of the buildings that I visited during Open House London; it wasn’t originally on my itinerary but when I found myself in the area I decided to have a look around and was very glad I did because it was definitely one of the highlights of the weekend. It’s a Grade I listed building that was built between 1411 and 1440 and is the ceremonial and administrative centre of the City of London and its corporation.
St Stephen Walbrook is another church I visited whilst down in London for Open House last year. It’s the third church building on the site, the first was founded in Saxon times, the second was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666 and the third was designed by Christopher Wren in 1672.
I visited St Mary Aldermary as part of Open House London though it’s been on my to do list for a while. There’s probably been a church on this site for over 900 years with the name Aldermary meaning “older Mary”, suggesting it was the first local church dedicated to Mary and therefore the oldest such church in the City. The Great Fire in 1666 destroyed the original church, so its current building was given a more Gothic rebuild by Christopher Wren.
I visited Clothworkers’ Hall as part of last year’s Open House London. I didn’t know anything about the Clothworkers’ Company beforehand but the pictures of the building looked interesting and I wasn’t disappointed. Founded in 1528 it was originally established to supervise the training of apprentices and setting standards within the textile industry and now continues its work as a charitable organisation.