1966-2016 The 50th Anniversary of the Combined Parish of St Giles' Cripplegate with St Luke's Old Street
Thursday 20 October: St Luke’s Church of England Primary School, St Luke’s Day Service at St Giles’
We broke with tradition this year in holding the St Luke’s Day Service at St Giles’. This was for the school’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the United Parish of St Giles’s Cripplegate with St Luke’s Old Street. We began with a slide show in the school hall about St Luke’s Church before it was restored by the LSO.
Monday 26 September: St Luke’s Day
The idea came about as a community musical project and there was lots of enthusiasm right from the start. How could we retrace the journey made by the people of St Luke’s to St Giles’? The LSO Discovery team were on board as was the Head of Music at City of London School for Girls – the music was in place, but would we have the courage to make it a musical journey?
We knew some of the members of St Luke’s Centre have memories of St Luke’s as their church and the celebrations began there over tea and cake earlier in the afternoon. We met a former St Luke’s Brownie and member of the Sunday School; photos were unearthed of weddings at the church; we were told about children playing in the crypt during the long years when it was in a ruined state and boarded up.
The hungry could have more tea and cake at LSO St Luke’s as members of the community, CLSG singers and the community choir gathered for tours of the building and refreshments. We were joined by the Deputy Mayor of Islington, Councillor Una O’Halloran and our Pearly King and Prince. Kathryn McDowell MD of LSO reminded us of the history of the building and of the vision that transformed a derelict ruin of nearly 40 years into the stunning building we see today. Gareth Davies LSO Principal Flute Player played for us and then it was time for everyone to rehearse Steven Berryman’s composition of ‘O Come let us sing unto the Lord’ (The first line of Psalm 95 which is painted over the entrance arch into the church.)
We stood up and shook our shoulders, hummed strange notes and followed seemingly bizarre instructions – ‘Now sing only the vowels’.
150 of us set off singing with helpful non-singing police officers to guide us over roads. At intervals down Whitecross Street we passed large cards with the instructions of how next to sing the words. Bystanders looked intrigued as did the concert-goers as we continued singing through the Barbican Centre then onto Gilbert Bridge.
Anne played Harry Smart’s Postlude in C. Harry Smart was organist at St Luke’s and this had been his and St Luke’s organ.
There was a fanfare and Katharine welcomed everyone before we sang a hymn setting of Psalm 95.
Katharine then spoke about St Giles’, pointing out that the altar, silver, font and the pews too all came from St Luke’s.
Anne gave us a brief history of the organ.
Wednesday 7 September: Service to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the United Parish of St Giles’ Cripplegate with St Luke’s, Old Street and the Restoration of St Giles’ after the Blitz
There were photos on the steps before the service of those processing. We stood for the photographer on the same spot as members of St Luke's had on that cold January day in 1960 when they arrived at St Giles'. I think we were the more
colourful: the splendid red and white of the Bishop's cope, the red of our Alderman's robes, the purple of the Mayor of Islington's jacket, the blue of the Common Councilmen's robes, the splashes of colour in clergy robes and the unforgettable picture of the Pearly King and Prince,
It was a real gathering of the community that filled the church with representatives from Cripplegate Foundation, St Luke's Parochial Trust, St Luke's School, our historic charities, LSO St Luke's, Barbican Centre and local businesses, livery companies and clergy from St Paul's Cathedral and the Deanery as well as our Ecumenical Colleagues. Magnificent flower arrangements were the gift of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners.
The church was busy with preparations during the day. Anne and Elisabeth practising, Ron and his flower arrangers, Diana, Mona and Amanda setting out refreshments, Jake doing lots and Diane organising in the office.
The service began with a Fugetta by Henry Smart who was organist at St Luke's from 1844-1865 and a welcome by Katharine. We sang Psalm 95, the opening verse ' O Come let us sing unto the Lord' is carved around the west door of St Luke's. Jennie did the first reading and Mollie the second. It was a day of great celebration for Mollie who was a member of St Luke's from 1935 - 1959. The Bishop had a good chat with her before the service and in his sermon spoke of her stickabiliy and her example of faithful living.
Our singing filled the church, and the choir excelled under Anne's direction.
The choir sang the Anthem by C Hubert Parry “I was glad when they said unto me, we will go into the house of the Lord” This stirring work, often sung on special occasions, sent shivers down the spine and brought tears to the eyes of many in the congregation. We were indeed glad to be in St Giles’, the house of the Lord.
In his sermon the Bishop spoke with passion about the resilience and flourishing of St Giles', of its rebuilding after the Blitz, of Jacob who only woke up when he was asleep; and made us laugh with the story of being the ink monitor.
This had been his role when he was at school and he realised how things had changed in the intervening years when he asked school children recently if they knew what this was and they looked at him blankly, not understanding that inkwells needed to be filled each day or using ink to write!
Prayers were led by Katharine and David
After the blessing, the recessional, Prelude in D by Henry Smart was played by Elisabeth on the main organ and Anne on the chancel organ, and as the Area Dean commented, at that point the popping of corks could be heard.
The reception went with a swing as the City of London Brass played a selection of pieces. It was a wonderful evening and a great celebration of the vitality and variety of the parish of St Giles' Cripplegate with Luke's Old Street.
Sunday 11 September: More Celebrations for Mollie’s “Stickability”!
Mollie Munn, who was a member of the congregation of St Luke’s from 1935-1959, and now the sole survivor is the oldest member of the congregation of St Giles’, heard the Bishop in his sermon refer to her “stickability” and example of faithful living
Sunday 12 June Tour of the Tower of London
A group of us were given a personal tour of the Tower, by the Chaplain, Roger Hall. He steered us through the crowds pausing first at Traitors’ Gate, the name used since before 1544. Prisoners were brought by barge along the passing under London Bridge, where the heads of recently executed prisoners were displayed on pikes. Anne Boleyn and Thomas More entered the Tower by the gate.
Officially known as Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, this is an historic castle founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, The Tower has been a royal palace, an armoury, a treasury including home to the Crown Jewels of England, a prison and place of execution, a menagerie, the Royal Mint and a public records office.
Richard took us into the peace and tranquillity of St Peter ad Vincula This was originally a parish church, the Chapel was incorporated into the walls of the castle during Henry III’s expansion. It was rebuilt in its present form in the reign of Henry VIII.
Three queens of England Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Jane Grey, and also Thomas More and John Fisher, are buried here. The chapel has many monuments commemorating officers and residents of the Tower.. It remains a place of worship for the Tower’s community of 150 or so residents. Here Richard told us just part of the great unfolding of British history that has taken place within the walls of the Tower. Our visit ended with a privileged visit to the tomb of Thomas More, not usually open to visitors.
Some of us were so overwhelmed by history at that point and needed to recover over tea and scones. Others had greater staying power and went on to visit the Crown Jewels and other attractions. We were very fortunate to have someone as knowledgeable and passionate as Roger as our guide.
Thursday 12 May Visit to Lambeth Palace Library
We had always understood that the 1545 plans of the church were held at Lambeth Palace Library. As one of the events to mark the 50th anniversary of the United Parish of St Giles’ Cripplegate with St Luke’s Old Street, we thought that we would go and look at them. A group of us gathered at the gatehouse in the sunshine and Giles Mandlebrote, the Senior Librarian, outlined the history of the Library for us.
The records held there date from the 9th century to the present day, and their broad scope reflects the office of Archbishop as head of the Province of Canterbury, his national and international roles in leading the Church of England and the Anglican Communion worldwide, and the wealth and power of Archbishops in past centuries which enabled them to collect books and manuscripts of the highest quality and significance.
We were shown maps of the parish including several from the early 18th Century showing proposed sites for the building of new churches in the parish. There were also petitions signed by the Churchwardens, Overseers of the Poor and Parishioners objecting to St Alphage’s scheme to enlarge that parish. Giles had also kindly searched out books of interest for us including an early edition of Paradise Lost. Many of us resolved to return to the Library in the future to discover more of its wonderful treasures.
Where to visit us:-
St Giles' Cripplegate Church
London EC2Y 8DA
Registered Charity Number 1138077
Services and church opening hours
Communion (First Sunday in the month)
10.00 Parish Eucharist
16.00 Evening Prayer
Evening Prayer may be cancelled on the Sunday after Christmas and on Easter Day or during August. The service may also be cancelled if no key holder is available or it may take place in the Rectory instead.
08.30 Morning Prayer (Monday-Thursday)
Monthly Private Prayer and Reflection
These sessions are held on the first Thursday of the month., from 13.00-13.30.
Future Dates, Thursdays, 5 October, 2 November and 7 December.
These sessions are normally held on the first Thursday of the month from 13.30-15.00. Some gentle cleaning and tea and cakes at the end.
Future Dates, Thursdays, 5 October, 2 November and Wednesday 6 December.
The church is normally open from 11.00-16.00 Monday to Friday.
Parish Office Opening Hours
Tel: 020 7638 1997