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The Great Fire of 1666 devastated the centre of London, with a loss of old St Paul's and eighty-six parish churches. Sir Christopher Wren, working with Commissioners appointed by Parliament, was responsible for rebuilding the cathedral and fifty-one of the parish churches, although the immediate need to start rebuilding made his design for an overall replanning of the City impossible. The work was funded by a tax on coals brought into the City of London.
Much has been written about Wren's rebuilding of St Paul's, while the other fifty-ne parish chirches he was appointed to reconstruct are generally overlooked. This is the first modern book to examine them as a whole. Paul Jeffery describes how and when the churches were built, exploring the respective contributions of Wren and of his two principal assistants, Robert Hooke and Nicholas Hawksmoor. The result of their work was a unique set of contemporary churches. While not all are of the standard of Wren's masterpieces, such as St Stephen Walbrook and St Bride's, none is without architectural merit and interest. The second part of the book is a gazetteer of all the churches, including those that no longer exist. The book is heavily illustrated and provides a visual strong record of all the churches.
Since they were built the Wren churches have suffered steady losses. St Christopher-le-Stocks was demolished in 1782 to make way for the Bank of England. Others, such as St Dionis Backchurch and St Antholin Budge Row, were lost to Victorian parish rationalisation. Many were destroyed or badly damaged in the Second World War. Only twenty-three of the original fifty-one remain. These are now under threat again, with the Templeman Report's proposal that only four of the existing churches (none by Wren) should be retained as parish churches. They provide a test case of conservation, sitting as they do in the middle of the City of London. The City Churches of Sir Christopher Wren presents a clear case both for their importance and for their preservation.
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Paul Jeffery is the author of The Collegiate Churches of England and Wales and Parish Church of St. Mary-at-Hill in the City of London. He passed away in 1997.Review:
"Paul Jeffery tells this stirring story with a wealth of interesting detail, scholarly precision and (not least) good English prose."(Norman Harrison)
"To anyone who knows, or believes he or she knows, or knows nothing, of the City churches, this book is to be thoroughly recommended."(Stephen Croad)
"succinct and satisfying"(Edwin Heathcote)
"Paul Jeffery tells this stirring story with a wealth of interesting detail, scholarly precision and (not least) good English prose."(Sanford Lakoff)
"To anyone who knows, or believes he or she knows, or knows nothing, of the City churches, this book is to be thoroughly recommended."(Sanford Lakoff)
"succinct and satisfying"(Sanford Lakoff)
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Book Description Bloomsbury Academic, 2007. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P111847250149
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STR-1847250149
Book Description Bloomsbury Academic, 2007. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1847250149