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Cabbie’s Curios: St Alban’s Tower

Pictured below amongst the jumble of modern office blocks is the St Alban Tower which stands on an island in the middle of Wood Street, close to the Guildhall.

St Alban's Tower, Wood Street

St Alban’s Tower, Wood Street

Dedicated to the Christian martyr, Saint Alban this isolated spire is all that remains of a church created by Sir Christopher Wren in the 1680s as a replacement for an earlier design by Inigo Jones.

Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren, two great architects associated with St Alban's, Wood Street

Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren, two great architects associated with St Alban’s, Wood Street

There have been several churches in honour of St Alban on this ancient thoroughfare. The earliest reference dates back to 1085, although it is believed the association goes back a lot further.

Contemporary image of Wren's St Alban's, Wood Street

Contemporary image of Wren’s Wood Street church

Sadly, Wren’s design was badly bombed during WWII causing severe damage to much of the church.

The ruins of St Alban's, Wood Street in 1952

The ruins of St Alban’s, Wood Street in 1952

The blitzed ruins were eventually pulled down in 1955, but the relatively undamaged tower was maintained. In the 1980s the surviving section was converted into residential space and is now off limits to the public.

The tower today, now a private residence

The tower today, now a private residence

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14 responses

  1. What a strange place to live. It looks isolated, and incongruous amidst the modern developments; but all the better for that, in my opinion.
    Best wishes. Pete.

    1. Thanks, Pete. I imagine it gets a bit draughty in there πŸ˜‰

  2. I would bet that it does not form part of any affordable housing scheme…

    1. Oh, you can say that again, Helen…. 😦

  3. Thanks for this. I always wondered what its story was but never really had the time to research it myself. Very much appreciating what you do.

    1. You’re most welcome, Jan. Glad I could help.

  4. Thanks, I’m a city of London police officer and although not based at wood St I always thought it would be nice to know a little more about this tower. There is another nearby at Christchurch greyfriars on Newgate St which is also residential these days.

    1. Many thanks, Ford. Christchurch Greyfriars is spectacular too, I keep meaning to do a write up on it. Thanks again and take care out there.

  5. Wonderful building; such a contrast in style to those around it. Great that such an historic building has survived. It’s – now – out of place setting reminds me of Spiegelhalters in the Mile End Road which Wickhams department store had to build around. I must have passed that building hundreds of times before I understood the story behind it. Lots of ‘little gems’ around.

  6. Wow I had no idea it was a house, ‘I wonder who would live in a house like this’ πŸ™‚

    PS got my req 2 weeks ago πŸ™‚

    1. Congratulations, Damian! πŸ˜€

  7. Surrounded by all those hideous modern buildings, that beautiful tower stands like the last great act of defiance. How wonderful. However, as a place to live, unless there’s a lift I wouldn’t fancy all those stairs; and as for cleaning those windows ….. Thank you for another interesting post.

  8. It’s such a beautiful building! Whoever it is that owns it is incredibly lucky. Would be very nice if it wasn’t all by its lonesome like that though!

    1. It does look rather lonely out there doesn’t it….

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