Ever since we first moved to Limehouse in the early 1980s I have been intrigued by the Royal Foundation of St. Katharine which occupies a large site on Butcher Row, but always seems impenetrable. Today I was told that they had opened a Yurt. They have indeed:-
I realised that their entrance is at the back, so I asked to see the chapel. It’s an ancient foundation, originally established by Queen Matilda in 1147 by the Tower of London. The creation of St. Katharine’s dock displaced them to Regent’s Park and after the war they moved to the site of the old parish church of St. James Ratcliffe which was bombed in 1940, taking over the eighteenth-century vicarage. The chapel and surrounding retreat were designed by R.E. Enthoven in good Festival of Britain style.
This is the Master’s House, built in 1795 for Matthew Whiting, a sugar refiner and Director of the Phoenix Assurance Company, which oversaw the reconstruction of the neighbourhood after a fire in 1794:-
This is the chapel:-
And one of the surviving monuments from the church:-