Inside Christ Church, Spitalfields

13 January 2012

I’ve written about Christ Church, Spitalfields before but couldn’t resist writing about it again as it is such a stunning building and people don’t often seem to go inside to appreciate just how beautiful and harmonious the interior is.

Christ Church was built between 1714 and 1729 by Nicholas Hawksmoor and I think displays his genius more than any of his other constructions. It looms ominously over the dark Victorian buildings that surround it and dominates the Spitalfields area.

It is of course well known as a central location from the infamous Ripper murders of Autumn 1888, which, bar one, took place in the streets around the church. Fans of the book and film From Hell will recognise it as the classically austere white church beside the Ten Bells pub, where the victims allegedly drank and tried to attract punters. In those days it was a magnet for the prostitutes, dispossessed and hopeless of the area, who congregated on its white steps, which overlook Commercial Street.

More recently, the church has been the object of an amazing restoration project and has now been revealed in all of its glory. I was literally dumbstruck with admiration and awe when I stepped inside for the first time, the noise and bustle of busy Commercial Street fading away to a distant buzz as I walked around its light filled, luminous and serene space.

We’re planning to have a vow renewal ceremony on our fifth wedding anniversary this year, and I really want to have it at Christ Church. My great great great grandfather was married in Christ Church but they only let people whose parents or grandparents were married there have weddings there, alas.

All of the photographs in this post were taken by myself. I hope you enjoy them!