.’. St Dunstan-in-the-East .’.

++ To my Friend Martina Mihalciakova Melkonian ++ The original church was built around 1100 in the gothic style, but was severely damaged in the Great Fire of London. Rather than being completely rebuilt, the damaged church was patched up and a st…

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++ To my Friend Martina Mihalciakova Melkonian ++

The original church was built around 1100 in the gothic style, but was severely damaged in the Great Fire of London. Rather than being completely rebuilt, the damaged church was patched up and a steeple, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, added. This was unusual in that Wren designed it in the gothic style to match the old church. There is a story that during a storm someone once hurried to tell Wren that all of his steeples had been damaged. ‘Not St. Dunstan’s,’ he replied confidently. However, by the early 19th century the church was in a very poor state and was rebuilt by David Laing, with assistance by William Tite. Wren’s steeple was retained in the new building.

The church was severely damaged in the Blitz of 1941. Wren’s tower and steeple survived the bombs intact. Of the rest of the church only the north and south walls remained. In the re-organisation of the Anglican Church in London following the War it was decided not to rebuild St Dunstan’s, and in 1967 the City of London Corporation decided to turn the ruins of the church into a public garden, which opened in 1971. A lawn and trees were planted in the ruins, with a low fountain in the middle of the nave. The tower now houses the All Hallows House Foundation.

The parish is now combined with the Benefice of All Hallows by the Tower and occasional open-air services are held in the church, such as on Palm Sunday prior to a procession to All Hallows by the Tower along St Dunstan’s Hill and Great Tower Street. The ruin was designated a Grade I listed building on 4 January 1950.

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Author: Dani Middleton

I was born in Brazil in 1981 and lived there for 23 years before emigrating to the UK in 2005. I had read about England’s history since a young age however I moved here purely due to the history of London itself. Everything in this city fascinates me; from its parks, pubs and buildings to street names, post boxes and bollards. Watching children “beating the bounds” or the rose ceremony, you can never be tired of London. I love the quirkiness of the little alleys, the secrets of the forgotten architecture and how wonderful it can be to simply turn a corner and suddenly find a whole new world. I have worked in some remarkable places in London: museums, palaces, galleries, archives, even digging for the MoL on the Thames foreshore but I now work for Tower Bridge where, daily, I can see the City from a different point of view. Working for the City, learning its history and stories makes me eager to learn more. London is a flowing, living organism, with the old and new together transforming it every day, but always with its history at your fingertips. One step, an intricate Victorian coal hole; another step, an old Police box; yet another, an office block built seamlessly onto an old roman ruin. I am just a girl, lost in London trying not to find the way out but a way deeper, further inside what makes this city so… special, so… unique, so… me. I am a Londoner.

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