Plumbers' and Constructors' Annual City Churches Walk

Wednesday 19th July 2017

The City of London

This was the third annual churches walk and I would recommend my successors to snap up tickets as soon as they are made available. It is a perfect day out for masters and consorts, providing a guided tour of Wren's masterpieces. It is baffling to imagine how Sir Christopher Wren managed to rebuild 50 churches after the Great Fire destroyed 86 churches in the City. St Paul's would be a lifetime achievement but he could take credit for least 49 other masterpieces.

You can imagine a Billy Connelly gag along the lines of:

"How many churches have you built today, Chris?"

"Three this morning and two this afternoon."

"Only two in the afternoon?"

"Yeah, we got stuck in the Jamaica Inn over a quart of port and I mislaid the plans of St Brides somewhere between Walbrook and Gresham Street."

Many of the churches rebuilt by Wren were bombed in 1940 by the Luftwaffe. The rebuilding of those churches is another fascinating story.

From the beautifully proportioned church of St Stephen Walbrook to the ruined church of St Dunstan in the East, we explored gems which most people would pass without giving the building a second glance. Many churches have gardens or yards which provide an oasis in the bustling City. To raise desperately needed funds for maintenance, these churches provide excellent coffee bars that demonstrate that there is more to life than Starbucks, Costa Coffee and Cafe Nero.

Our guide was Past Master Mercer (2003), Mike Dudgeon, and he made sure that no Masters and Mistresses were lost as we crossed the City's busy streets and ensured there was sufficient personal time to explore the churches. Lunch was provided by Cook & Butler at St Lawrence Jewry, where we would return later in the afternoon. I was expecting to be greeted by fellow liveryman and Hon Chaplain David Parrott at SLJ. We heard that he had been taken ill earlier in the day ... read on ...