St Andrew Holborn

 

St Andrew Holborn has been a site of worship for at least 1000 years but when the Crypt was excavated in 2001 Roman remains were found so the site could have been in use for much longer still. All of the finds could be dated between AD 150 and 300, though no clear purpose for the site could be gleaned from the finds.

The first mention of a church on this site was in a charter issued by King Edgar in AD 951, part of the foundation charter of Westminster Abbey, which names ‘the old church of St Andrew’.

In Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist Bill Sykes looks up at this church’s tower (an episode referenced by Iris Murdoch in Under the Net, though from where her character stands such a view is almost impossible)

During the London Blitz, on the night  May 1941, the church was bombed and gutted by German bombs, leaving only the exterior walls and tower. However, instead of demolition which sometimes occurred in similar cases, it was decided after a long delay that it would be restored “stone for stone and brick for brick” to Wren’s original designs.The church re-opened in 1961 as a non-parochial Guild Church intended for serving the local working rather than resident community which had declined as had the City’s population as a whole.  In January 2005 a new large icon was installed, made for the site by the Monastic Family Fraternity of Jesus in Vallechiar. The church runs a selection of recitals and lectures, as well as weekly services and evening concerts. The church was designated a Grade I listed building on 4 January 1950. In August 2010, St Andrew Holborn’s Icon Cross became motorised, allowing the large icon of Jesus on the Cross to be raised and lowered for services.