Friday, 2 December 2011
As London expanded in the early eighteenth century, so did the need for new churches. An Act of Parliament was passed in 1711 in order that fifty new churches could be built to serve the population gathering at the fringes. By the time the order ran out in 1731, only twelve had been built, but amongst them are six stunning churches by Nicholas Hawksmoor. This master of the baroque was once Wren's assistant, but his own style is from another world altogether. This is Christ Church, opposite the old Spitalfields wholesale market and heralding the very desirable Huguenot weavers' houses to the north in thoroughfares like Fournier Street. Built between 1714-29, this is one of my all-time favourite buildings, and the view I always enjoy is my top picture, taken from down Brushfield Street, where the distinct impression is given that the tower is a continuation straight up from the immense Tuscan porch with its semi-circular pediment. As you move around the entrance, you discover that it's not. And what looks like it should be a square main tower is in fact a rectangle. There is much more to say, and some of it can be found in More London Peculiars where I've gone on about this and three other Hawksmoor churches.