City Spires & Towers #9

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In the previous City Spires & Towers post seven months ago, we had a look around Aldgate, Bishopsgate and the Undershaft. Once again we are in that area and this time its all about a new building that has just opened to the public. Yes its 120 Fenchurch Street and this ninth instalment is about the new building and the City’s churches in its vicinity or visible from the roof gardens, as well as the grand views from the roof gardens itself.

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120 Fenchurch Street as viewed from Aldgate tube station.

Ironically the ninth post had already been written and was going to be about some of the churches in the vicinity of Fenchurch Street. Its been re-written to reflect the recent changes in the area and some of the churches that were to be covered have been moved to a future tenth post!

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All Hallows Staining with 120 Fenchurch Street – and the Scalpel barely visible at the rear.

The tower of All Hallows Staining in Mark Lane, still stands. The church itself was neither a victim of war nor fire. It simply became an outpost of St Olave’s, and was soon viewed as surplus estate. It was demolished in 1870, leaving just the tower.

All Hallows Staining is in full view of Fenchurch Street station, as well as many of the newer offices that have sprung up around it. Thankfully the modern buildings around this spire are of relatively low rise build, so none that overshadow it completely. In fact 120 Fenchurch Street prevents it from being blighted entirely by The Scalpel.

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Another view of All Hallows Staining with 120 Fenchurch Street.

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All Hallows Staining’s only just visible from 120 Fenchurch Street’s roof garden.

The spire of All Hallows by the Tower is fairly prominent in terms of prospect towards 120 Fenchurch Street – or from its roof garden.

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Bonus pic! Two All Hallows churches in the same view! That by the Tower in the distance and All Hallows Staining’s spire is just visible at the bottom. Note also the GLA HQ and beyond that the council estates around Old Kent Road, Albany Road, Peckham and towards Honor Oak.

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April 2017 – 120 Fenchurch Street had barely risen at this stage. Only a floor or two of the lift shaft is visible behind All Hallows by the Tower’s spire.

All Hallows by the Tower (aka All Hallows Barking) is one of London’s oldest churches and like he did at the nearby St Olave church, William Penn too created a firebreak which protected All Hallows from the Great Fire of London. Sadly this famous church like a lot of others nearby suffered from WWII bombing – and it was not restored until 1957.

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Early days! June 2017 the lift shaft at 120 Fenchurch Street starts to become more visible behind All Hallows’ spire.

120 Fenchurch Street is quite visible behind All Hallows, but not as much as the prospect from All Hallows Staining. In fact its other buildings that prevent a good prospect towards All Hallows and 120 Fenchurch Street, which is somewhat a shame because both spire and new building sport green tops which are quite complimentary in spite of the almighty mess that has been created within the City of London in the quest to reach the skies. Bad planning!

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October 2018 view with 120 Fenchurch Street fully complete. Note the green spire and green roof garden annexe.

In terms of the many prospects available from the roof gardens, St. Pauls can of course be seen as well as St Mary’s le Bow, the Old Bailey, the Telecom Tower and Centre Point.

Further afield The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Tate Modern, The Hilton Hotel, London Eye, Albert Memorial, Queen’s Tower, Millbank Tower, Empress State Building, Euston Tower, Westminster Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Marylebone Town Hall, Marylebone Great Central Hotel, Hampstead Heath, Harrow, Stratford, Canary Wharf, Claybury, Crystal Palace and the North Downs, as well as many other places. Clearly the prospect from 120 Fenchurch Street is most excellent.

I’m also thinking Windsor Castle can be seen on a clear day although I have not seen this yet. On one of my visits to 120 Fenchurch Street the hills in that direction could just about be seen despite a somewhat discoloured and misty atmosphere (or perhaps its the… cough, cough… pollution laden atmosphere created by planes taking off from Heathrow!) Thus its my reasoning Windsor Castle might be visible in more optimal conditions.

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St Paul’s with St Mary’s le Bow and Telecom Tower. St Vedast-alias-Foster’s spire is at extreme right. Old Bailey dome behind this.

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A good view of nearby St Michael Cornhill’s tower.

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Looking eastwards St Boltoph’s Aldgate can be easily spotted as can the tube station next to it!

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Spitalfields church (as well as Spitalfields market) plus the Truman Brewery chimney are in the north east direction as well as good views across the Lee Valley. In fact I think the tops of the towers at Ponders End are slightly discernible!

Here’s a selection of views from the river or the Tate Modern with 120 Fenchurch Street at various stages of construction.

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120 Fenchurch Street partially visible at the side of the Walkie Talkie. Good view of Spitalfields church and the Royal Exchange. April 2017.

I know its a bit of a jump from the Thames however the next picture is relevant. Its also taken in April 2017 from Fenchurch Street itself and shows 120 with its steel framework nearly complete. The concrete core lift shafts seen in the other pictures can just be seen in the top right hand corner.

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The partially built 120 Fenchurch Street. April 2017

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Waterloo Bridge with the Oxo Tower and the cranes going up for 120 Fenchurch Street. Lloyds cannot be missed. The partially built 22 Bishopsgate is also evident. May 2017. The spires of St James Garlickhythe and St Michael Paternoster Royal are just visible.

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October 2017. 120 Fenchurch Street’s roof garden annexe takes shape. Spitalfields church spire visible in the distance. The Royal Exchange’s tower can also be spotted.

The Garden 120 Fenchurch Street.

Previous City Spires & Towers posts:
#1 – All Hallows by the Tower with the Walkie Talkie
#2 – All Hallows, St Dunstan’s, St Magnus, St Margaret Pattens
#3 – St Magus, St Mary’s, St Margaret’s, St Dunstan’s
#4 – St. Helen’s, St. Andrews Undershaft, Cheesegrater, Scapel
#5 – Jason Hawkes’ photos of the City’s churches and towers
#6 – The Scapel, St. Helen’s, St. Margaret Pattens, St Edmund’s
#7 – Night time scenes of the City’s churches and towers
#8 – The two St Boltophs, Undershaft and 22 Bishopsgate

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