St Paul's, Bow Common

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St Paul's Bow Common
Church of St Paul's Bow Common
St Paul's Bow Common.jpg
View of St Paul's Bow Common
Location corner of Burdett Road & St Paul's Way, Bow Common, Tower Hamlets, London E3 5AR
Country United Kingdom
Denomination Church of England
Architect(s) Robert Maguire and Keith Murray
Style new brutalism
Years built 1958-60
Diocese London

St Paul's Bow Common is a 20th-century church in Bow Common, London, England. It is an Anglican church in the Diocese of London.[1] The church is at the junction of Burdett Road and St Paul's Way in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It replaced an earlier church that was designed by Rohde Hawkins in 1858 and financed by William Cotton of Leytonstone. Consecrated by Bishop Charles James Blomfield, this church was largely destroyed in the Second World War, and demolished in the 1950s.[2]

The modern church was built in 1958-60, and the building is listed Grade II*. Its architects were Robert Maguire and Keith Murray.[3] The Revd. Gresham Kirkby, a Christian Anarchist, was also involved in the design, and continued as parish priest until 1994,[4] being succeeded by Revd. Prebendary Duncan Ross, who retired in October 2013.[5]

The lettering around the porch reads 'Truly this is none other but the house of God This is the Gate of Heaven' (Genesis 28:17), was carved by Ralph Beyer. The 800 square foot mosaic is by Charles Lutyens. Made from coloured Murano glass tesserae, and taking five years to make, the mosaic is likely to be the largest artist-created contemporary mosaic mural in the British Isles.[6] The church is currently home to Lutyens's 'Outraged Christ'.[7]

On 7 November 2013, the church was judged to be the winner of the National Churches Trust Diamond Jubilee Award for best Modern Church built in the UK since 1953.[8] The awards were judged by architecture critic Jonathan Glancey, chief executive of the Twentieth Century Society Catherine Croft, Sherry Bates, president of the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association, and trustee of the National Churches Trust Richard Carr-Archer.[9]

The building was described by the judges as the ‘embodiment of the ground swell of ideas about Christian worship’ and a ‘hugely influential signpost for future Anglican liturgy’.[10]

The vicar is Mother Bernadette Hegarty. The Churchwardens are Julian Bream and Sally Sigmund. Kelley Christ RIBA (Purcell uk) is church architect.


  1. ^ "St Paul Bow Common". The Church of England. Retrieved 22 September 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ Weinreb, Ben, and Hibbert, Christopher (1992). The London Encyclopaedia (reprint ed.). Macmillan. p. 776. 
  3. ^ Elain Harwood, 'Liturgy and architecture: the development of the centralised eucharistic space', The Journal of the Twentieth Century Society | Twentieth Century Architecture 3: The Twentieth Century Church (The Twentieth Century Society, 1998) p.71-2 | St Paul's Bow Common is illustrated on the cover of the journal
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Coordinates: 51°31′03″N 0°01′46″W / 51.5176°N 0.0295°W / 51.5176; -0.0295