It's always a pleasure when you rediscover photos you'd forgotten about and today's post is one such rediscovery. Back in February I spent a day in London continuing my City Churches project, focusing on churches in the south-eastern corner of the city. Some of the photos from that day remain unpublished so I thought I'd share them here in a couple more posts over the coming days.
St. Margaret Pattens is tucked away, like many city churches, among much more modern buildings. There has been a church on this site for around 900 years, dedicated to St. Margaret of Antioch but, in common with so many others, its fourth incarnation was burnt down during the Great Fire in 1666. The current building was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and built between 1684 and 1687.
Inside I found a remarkably light and airy space, with lots of plain glass and rich, chestnut coloured pews. The church warden was very helpful and encouraged me to spend as long as I wished there, even suggesting a few interesting details I had failed to spot on my own.
The name of this church may seem curious to those unfamiliar with the history of this part of London. At the time there were numerous churches dedicated to St. Margaret so 'Pattens' was added to distinguish this one from the rest. The church is positioned on Eastcheap, an area that was the centre of the pattenmaking trade in the centuries before the streets were paved. To avoid getting dirty shoes one would wear a pair of wooden undershoes strapped to your soles, thereby lifting you above the mud on the roads. The tradition largely ceased in the nineteenth century as the roads became cleaner but, to this day, there is still a sign in the church requesting that "women leave their Pattens before entering".