The Lost London Churches Project
The Lost London Churches Project aims to promote interest in the lost churches and parishes of the City of London through a series of collectable cards, books and maps. The City of London is a little larger than a square mile – easy to explore in an afternoon. Why not visit some of the existing churches and collect some of these cards? Or try one of our explorers walks and hunt down the lost ones. You can find collectable cards in these churches listed below
- St Mary Abchurch – with an astonishing painted ceiling
- St Vedast Foster Lane – with a wonderful geometric floor
- St Bartholomew the Great – the oldest parish church
- St Botolph Bishopsgate – a place of sanctuary, welcoming all
- St Botolph Aldgate – for peace and quiet reflection
- St Margaret Pattens – a fascinating display of the patten makers crafts
- St Mary Aldermary – with a great cafe in the church
- St Olave Hart Street – one of the few surviving pre -fire churches
- St Mary Woolnoth – Hawksmoor’s startling masterpiece
- St Margaret Lothbury – official church of 5 livery companies
…amongst others to explore
The Collectable Cards
In the first half of the 20th Century, tobacco companies often included small illustrated cards with their packs of cigarettes. These “Cigarette Cards” were issued in sets for people to collect. They had a variety of themes; famous people, sports, costumes, vehicles and such like.
I found a book of cigarette cards amongst my father’s papers after his death. They were a set depicting military uniforms which my father had dutifully pasted into the collector’s book as a young boy although he had only managed to collect half of them. His hobby, after he retired, was painting watercolours of churches. So this set of collectable cards of London churches is dedicated to him as it combines two of his passions, church paintings and card collecting.
There are 79 cards in the Lost London Churches set. Of course, they are not all “Lost” as there are 40 that are still extant and another 9 for which were are some visible remains. But these existing churches have absorbed the parishes of the churches that are lost so, in that sense, they memorialise them and therefore belong in an account of the ones that have disappeared.
If you visit the churches in the City of London you may find you are able to pick up some of these cards for a small donation for the upkeep of the church. I heartily recommend you do a tour – look on the Friends of the City Churches website for details as to when and where to visit.
If there are particular cards that you want to add to your collection you can find a list of the churches and the card numbers here – or you would like to get a complete set in one go – then head over our shop to place your order.
Other Interesting sites to visit
The Collector’s Book
The cards on their own only tell half the story. You might want to know where these lost churches stood and what was the extent of their parishes. So we have published an accompanying book which gives maps of all the lost church sites and spaces for you to stick the cards in your collection.
The map is based on an original map drawn in 1676 by Ogilby and Morgan. This was soon after the Great Fire of London in 1666 and shows the extent of the damage with empty sites marked where the churches had been destroyed. So when you paste a card into the book you are looking a map of how London looked around 350 years ago. Don’t worry – it has not changed much.
The book also contains historical notes about the churches, the saints and the architects and illustrations of how the parishes were combined over a 400 year period. You can order a copy from our shop as the perfect companion piece to your card collection
Special Presentation Pack
You will notice that the cards have brief notes on their backs – so if you stick them into the book you will not be able to read them any more. That’s why we are also selling a presentation pack with clear plastic pockets that fit your cards and let you see both sides. There are enough spaces to hold a full set, along with a map showing the church locations and a timeline of the demolitions.