Secret London: St Dunstan-in-the-East

St Dunstan-in-the-East was a Church of England parish church (halfway between London Bridge and the Tower of London) until the Second World War. It was then destroyed and instead of having it rebuilt the ruins were left and turned into a garden. A little while ago I went to visit the ruins in my aim to see more of the city I love in. This is a hidden treasure, an actual gem in this city and I’m glad I know about it now even though I wish I knew about it ages ago.

Originally built in about 1100 the church has a history of additions and repairs, the most famous of which was a steeple designed by Sir Christopher Wren added in 1695-1701. Now only the north and south walls remain along with the steeple and Wren’s tower; the Blitz destroyed the rest. In 1971 the church was turned into a public garden and trees and plants planted in the ruins.

I went on a sunny Friday afternoon and while I was inside it was very easy to forget that I was in the middle of a really busy part of London while I sat on one of the public benches and enjoyed the wind rustling in the tress and the peace the ruins provided. Just have a look at the pictures below.

When I went to Lisbon I went out of my way to visit the ruins of the Carmo Convent without any idea that London has something similar and less than an hour from where I live. If you ever get the chance I really recommend you go here just to spend a quiet moment or two before heading back into the hustle and bustle of London.

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