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This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!



Monday, 13 April 2015

St Mary Aldermanbury - from London to Missouri













I stumbled across this tiny green garden in the City of London a couple of weeks ago. It is close to the Guildhall but I had never noticed it before and only wandered in because I was curious as to why there was a memorial to Shakespeare.















But it is not Shakespeare that it commemorates but two men, John Heminge and Henry Condell. They  were fellow actors and friends of the Bard who lived in this parish and were buried here. Although I had never heard of them the world owes them much as  the two men  collected all of Shakespeare's plays after his death in 1616 and are credited with having them published.










An information board in the corner had more intriguing information about this tiny garden. It used to be the site of St Mary Aldermanbury, records of which date back to 1181. Destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666 it was rebuilt by Wren but damaged by bombing in WW2, it was decided not to rebuild it again. But the story doesn't end there as the ruins were shipped to Fulton, Missouri where the church was re-erected. More research was needed.



In 1961, the President of Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri discussed having a memorial to Sir Winston Churchill who had made a speech at the College in 1946 which became known as his 'Iron Curtain' speech. A Life magazine feature on war-ravaged Wren churches which were going to be demolished sparked the idea of importing the ruins of one of them to be rebuilt as a memorial and the college chapel.
St Mary Aldermanbury was chosen for its size but there was negative comments in the British press calling it ......'the last word in sentimental extravagance'. It took 4 years to get permission to remove the remains of the church and also to raise the $2 million ($10 million in today's money) necessary to ensure the completion of the project. Removal began in 1965 with 7000 stones being labelled and their position noted on a diagram of the original church. Any missing stones were replaced by stone quarried from the original Portland Quarry. Wren's original plans were used to reconstruct the building.
The foundation stone was laid in 1966. Three hundred years after the Great Fire of London and the year following Churchill's death. The last stone was put in place in May 1967 but it took another two years for English woodcarvers to recreate the pulpit, balcony and baptismal font using pre-war photographs. An American firm manufactured the glass for the windows and a Dutch company cast five new bronze bells for the Tower.
The fire warden who watched the church burn in 1940 built the organ and helped with the authenticity of the interior and finally in May 1969 the dedication of the memorial took place.

"I am honoured... The removal of a ruined Christopher Wren Church, largely destroyed by enemy action in London in 1941 (sic), and its reconstruction and re-dedication at Fulton, is an imaginative concept..."
-Winston S Churchill

Back in London the church and churchyard site was acquired by the City of London in 1970 and laid out as a garden. The College of Westminster, Fulton had a plaque laid in the garden






Sharing with  Our World Tuesday

33 comments:

  1. That's a wonderful story. Thanks for telling me about it. :-)

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  2. Oh, yes!! A wonderful story it is indeed!! Thanks for sharing!! Hope you have a great week!

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  3. oh wow very cool architecture and information :-)

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  4. It's a brilliant story well told. Once again you find some great material for your blog.

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  5. What an interesting story! Thanks for sharing.

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  6. I enjoyed this fascinating bit of history! The amount of effort it took to rebuilt the church at another location and the dedication it likely took to gather and preserve Shakespeare’s plays is a testament to the basic goodness and steadfastness of mankind even in the face of turmoil and war. The small plaque you pictured on a small spot of land has a very big story to tell.

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  7. got a lot of history 'round those parts

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  8. Fascinating narrative and shots.

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  9. You are a master blogger



    ALOHA from Honolulu,
    ComfortSpiral
    =^..^=

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  10. sometimes you find nice places where you least expect it :)

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  11. Fascinating posts ~ so informative and great shots!

    Happy Week to you,
    artmusedog and carol

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  12. Wonderful information and story..The church is pretty! Great photos, thanks for sharing your visit.. Have a happy week!

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  13. Fascinating story. I wonder how close that will be to where we are headed in MO in a couple of weeks.

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  14. A very interesting tale of buying some history. Nevertheless, the church looks very fine and it is to their credit that it was reconstructed with a lot of authenticity.

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  15. What a charming discovery! With all the millions of people and buildings in London, it still has these lovely little surprising nooks of nature and history tucked away in surprising places.A lovely post, thank you.

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  16. That is a beautiful little garden. That is lot of history there,

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  17. At first I thought I was looking at photos from Shakespeare's burial ground in Stratford-upon-Avon. Thanks for many interesting facts on this post! :)

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  18. What a lovely discovery. Nice shots.

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  19. So much history in your city and lovely to see these little hidden garden gems tucked away amid the hustle and bustle.

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  20. Lovely post with the history of London.

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  21. What an interesting post ! and moving a whole church to the States is really something !

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  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  23. This is what I so love about London. In a postage stamp sized ordinary looking garden there are all these stories and all this history. Arizona got the London Bridge, Missouri got a London church.

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  24. Another secret corner of London. Very nice.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  25. Now if you do all those bits, it leaves me to shop and go to shows! Mind you, I would probably get quite bored with shopping all the time, so knowing there are plenty of hidden treasures throughout London, would make a great short break for me!

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  26. I learn so much coming here! thanks, Janey

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  27. What a lovely place you discovered! Thanks for sharing!

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  28. That's amazing. I love what's still there and I am off to Google Fulton Missouri to see what is happening to it today.

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  29. Dearest Fun 60; Oh My, Fascinating story and architecture♪ Wish to visit London again to see more :-)
    So sorry for my belated comment; Wishing will have a wonderful rest of the week.

    Sending Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan to my Dear friend in England, xoxo Miyako*

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  30. it is really a lovely place to visit. Thanks for sharing and give us more knowledge.

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  31. it is really a lovely place to visit. Thanks for sharing and give us more knowledge.

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