St. Mary-le-Strand

I find that walking across central London on a hot, early summer evening is like seeing it in reverse, because it is so rare to see buildings lit up from the north.   None more so than St. Mary-le-Strand, normally asphyxiated by the passing traffic, but tonight visible in its full baroque glory, less muscular than the works of Hawksmoor, but at least as well informed in its use of Roman precedent, because Gibbs had actually been in Italy, first as a student at The Scots College, then as a pupil of Carlo Fontana, returning to London in November 1708.   On 18 November 1713, he was appointed architect to the Commission for Fifty New Churches, replacing William Dickinson, and St. Mary-le-Strand was their first work.  It was originally planned to have a campanile rather than a steeple and narrowly escaped demolition in the late nineteenth century:-


2 thoughts on “St. Mary-le-Strand

  1. Richard Bram says:

    I’m particularly fond of this time in London for the same reason: In the early morning and late afternoon, the north sides of everything are illuminated by the sun, a pleasure rarely noticed. I’m also attached to the two churches that stand in the middle of the Strand – St.Mary and Wren’s St. Clement Danes, standing serenely in the midst of the belching swirl of the street.

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