Church of St Andrew, Holborn

Two days ago, on 9.3.2020, Adrian Prockter* posted on his Know Your London website:

“…The church, which had not been affected by the Great Fire (1666), was largely rebuilt 1676 to designs of Christopher Wren. The tower was in good condition and was left standing. In 1704 Christopher Wren refaced the tower of the church with Portland Stone. When Thomas Coram died he was buried in the church. His tomb bears the inscription ‘Thomas Coram died 28 March 1751, aged 85’. Thomas Coram was responsible for establishing the Foundling Hospital on land not far north of the church.

The church was almost completely destroyed in 1941 by the bombing. It was restored after bomb damage and later re-consecrated on 25 October 1961…”

*(“Adrian Prockter was born in Forest Hill, in SE London, and has lived in the area all his life. He has been lecturing on the subject of Inner London for over forty years. His specialist knowledge covers the City of London, the City of Westminster (which now includes Paddington and St Marylebone), as well as the other Inner London Boroughs.

Adrian has also devoted a large part of his time to researching the history of the River Thames. For 25 years he chartered riverboats and conducted river trips from Westminster up to Hammersmith or from Westminster down to the Thames Barrier. Some of the trips were conducted for the Museum of London and others were for his own (adult) students. While conducting the tours he met many watermen and learned a considerable about the river that only those who work on the Thames would know.”)

David Ross, editor of Britain Express, wrote of St Andrew’s:

“The philanthropist Coram would have been moved by the tragic events here in 1826 when a surgeon named William Marsden discovered a homeless girl on the church steps. The girl was suffering from hypothermia, but when Marsden attempted to gain help from nearby hospitals, none would grant her admission, and the child died in Marsden’s arms. The experience led him to found the Royal Free Hospital to care for the poor.

One fascinating feature of St Andrews is a pair of ‘Bluecoat’ statues flanking the west tower entrance. These striking blue-clad figures depict children attending a charity school. Blue clothing was frequently used for charity school children because blue dye was the least expensive available. Stockings were often dyed with saffron as it was thought to deter rats from biting the children’s ankles.

The Bluecoat figures at St Andrew’s depict children attending St Andrew’s Parochial School, founded in 1696 and located in Hatton Garden since 1721. The statues stood over the Cross Street entrance to the Hatton Street school. The statues were moved here during the church’s restoration after WWII bombing damage.

(Quenton Fyfe from interviewed David Ross on 27.11.2012. Fyfe asked Ross: “…of all the stories that you’ve published there (on his photographic site) do you have one that stands out in your memory as a particularly special moment?”

“…Another one that was quite meaningful to me was the photograph I published of sunset on the Isle of Colonsay. Magnificent sunset and there was a chap on the beach who was camping out and he saw me photographing and we were the only people in this deserted beach. The most incredible scenery, the sky is turning orange and gold and he said, “would you like a cup of cocoa? I’m just making a camp fire and have putting some cocoa on”. I said “sure, thanks” and we chatted for a while and then I thought, I’m going to take a photograph I’ve never taken before. I tend to take photos that are just scenery and no people and I asked this chap if he would mind standing there and looking out to sea at the setting sun and he agreed, he was incredibly friendly. And somehow seeing the silhouette of this fellow looking out at the most amazing sunset, I would hope that anyone can see themselves as that person and imagine themselves being there and Kenny, if you ever read this, or you listen to this, thanks pal, I appreciate it.”)

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