Revamping of Christ Church Newgate St

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michael scuffil
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Revamping of Christ Church Newgate St

Post by michael scuffil » Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:11 pm

The CHOBA newsletter for December drew attention to the proposals contained here:

https://citizensmemorial.files.wordpres ... morial.pdf

Certainly anyone with an interest in CH should also be interested in this plan. Christ Church Newgate St is the only surviving physical link with the old CH, of which it was in effect the chapel, and is the only publicly accessible place you can go and say with certainty 'Coleridge (e.g.) was here.'

It was largely destroyed in 1941, with only the steeple and the shell of the walls left standing. I've been visiting it on and off since about 1960. The steeple, Wren's best in my opinion, has been perfectly restored and is now a small block of flats. In 1970, about half of the remaining walls were demolished as part of a road-widening scheme, but at that time, the interior was overgrown wasteland. It has since been converted into a very pleasant garden.

The plan is to reinstate the walls, thus enclosing the garden. I am in two minds about this. The initiators of the plan, in my opinion, overstate the case by excessively denigrating the present state of the site. They want to isolate the garden from the life around it. But in spite of the traffic noise, I find it peaceful enough. If the walls were rebuilt, it would still be pleasant, though different. I won't be lending active support to the plan, but I shan't oppose it either.
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Re: Revamping of Christ Church Newgate St

Post by Adrian » Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:24 pm

Thanks for that, very interesting. I have made a mental note to visit the place next time I go to London.
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Re: Revamping of Christ Church Newgate St

Post by eucsgmrc » Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:28 pm

A couple of photos from about 1959 showing the state of Christ Church back then:

Image
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jandsw/10016975105

Image
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jandsw/10017078663
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Re: Revamping of Christ Church Newgate St

Post by michael scuffil » Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:30 pm

That's much as I first remember seeing it.

If we look at the top photo: The 'structure' on the corner of Newgate St/King Edward St is no longer there. I think it's just a lawn. King Edward St has been widened, so that the pavement now runs where the east end of Christ Church was then and continues along the edge of the abovementioned now-demolished structure. The east end of Christ Church and the south (near) wall have been demolished, and the interior is a garden.

Clearly it would have been better if this had not been done (everyone admits that now), but re-instating a ruin to an interim not-quite-so-ruined state seems a curious procedure. (It's been done minimally with Stonehenge, where stones known to have fallen in historical times and whose previous position was known for certain have been put back to where they were before. But I can't think of any other examples.)

The large building site was covered by about 1962 with new buildings that not everybody liked, but in my opinion were decently reticent. I believe they too have since been replaced. THE major change in this part of the city is the removal of the railway bridge at the bottom of Ludgate Hill, thus opening up the splendid view of St Paul's which was vandalized when the bridge was built c. 1880.

(Nice documentary photo, John.)
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Re: Revamping of Christ Church Newgate St

Post by michael scuffil » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:48 am

I have just come across this old print of Christ Church, Newgate St, which is the best I've seen actually, because the perspective is right. It also includes two CH boys. But what is this open-air living room in the right foreground?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/desti ... gs/blitz9/
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Re: Revamping of Christ Church Newgate St

Post by rockfreak » Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:03 pm

What odds on the whole site ending up as flats for Russian oligarchs?

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Re: Revamping of Christ Church Newgate St

Post by Avon » Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:11 pm

rockfreak wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:03 pm
What odds on the whole site ending up as flats for Russian oligarchs?
Three years later? Pretty likely, I’d have thought.

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Re: Revamping of Christ Church Newgate St

Post by michael scuffil » Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:51 pm

Another change to have occurred in this area is the re-erection of Temple Bar (which once stood in Fleet St. and was removed as an impediment to traffic, being moved to Theobalds Park in Herts.) in a position roughly corresponding to that of the group of cranes in John's bottom picture above.
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Re: Revamping of Christ Church Newgate St

Post by J.R. » Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:03 pm

michael scuffil wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:51 pm
Another change to have occurred in this area is the re-erection of Temple Bar (which once stood in Fleet St. and was removed as an impediment to traffic, being moved to Theobalds Park in Herts.) in a position roughly corresponding to. that of the group of cranes in John's bottom picture above{/b}


Slightly pedantic, I know, but possibly a need for a slight edit to relieve the pain in 'John's Bottom' !!
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Re: Revamping of Christ Church Newgate St

Post by michael scuffil » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:40 pm

I visited Christ Church Newgate St. again last week. Since I was there last year, a monument has been erected, commemorating the foundation of CH on the nearby site. It takes the form of a sculpture. A thoroughly 21st-century sculpture, depicting (I take it) modern-day street ragamuffins morphing into respectable Grecians. There are three of the latter, depicted in marching mode. One is male, one is female, and one is black (and male, as it happens). Very 21st-century. And the Grecians have their cuff buttons done up. Also very 21st-century. But hardly representative, I thought, of the school that was actually on the site.

I also happened to be in Hertford. It was nice to be able to walk up and down the Avenue for only the 2nd time in my life, but curious to think, as I wandered across the adjacent Tesco carpark, that I had probably wandered across it before, when it was a green space, as a Grecian, having my photo taken by dozens of little girls
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Re: Revamping of Christ Church Newgate St

Post by Great Plum » Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:31 pm

Some more info re the sculpture...
https://www.christs-hospital.org.uk/abo ... -the-city/

For what it’s worth, a number of my contemporaries have seen it and think it’s great...
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Re: Revamping of Christ Church Newgate St

Post by blueeyedboy » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:32 pm

Spent 15 years working just to the east of St Paul's untill quite recently so the first aerial photo is very interesting. The garden at Christ Church was revamped a year or so back and is indeed in very good heart and a nice spot to have your sandwich at lunchtime. Demolishing the east end of the nave was startling vandalism to a piece of Wrens work, but it does at least let the light in to what would have been quite a dark enclosed space and it is now a real sun trap. The sculpture is also really pretty good when seen in situ, thought provoking without being flash. The hole in the ground became the short-lived first Paternoster Square development which was always pretty deserted and desolate - certainly not many businesses there thrived for long. The current Mark 2 version is an obvious pastiche apart from the returned Temple Bar; little architectural merit but has quite a nice 'squint' sightline down from the bottom of King Edwards Street that gives an interesting glimpse of St Paul's.

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Re: Revamping of Christ Church Newgate St

Post by jtaylor » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:35 am

I went to see it last year, and was very impressed. Great concept, well executed, and there was a constant stream of city-types pausing unexpectedly to take a look. Love the colour too.
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Re: Revamping of Christ Church Newgate St

Post by michael scuffil » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:20 am

It is certainly a fine sculpture. But it illustrates a very general principle: memorials (especially those erected long after the fact) nearly always commemorate the period in which they are erected, rather than the purported object of commemoration.

(Not only memorials, actually. The museum at Neandertal is 5% about Neandertal Man, and 95% concerned with modern environmental issues.)

little architectural merit but has quite a nice 'squint' sightline down from the bottom of King Edwards Street that gives an interesting glimpse of St Paul's.

That is true of most of the City, I think. Suddenly you might see a Wren steeple through a chink between two undistinguished modern structures. Conversely, there is an unusual view of the Gherkin through a desolate backyard in Brick Lane.
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