On Sunday 6th September, between 2pm and 4pm there will be a rare opportunity to enjoy a behind the scenes guided tour of the tower at St Anne’s Church in Limehouse. Designed by Wren’s assistant Nicholas Hawksmoor and built 1714-1727, St Anne’s was one of twelve churches built to serve the new suburbs after the great fire of London, funded by a tax on coal coming up the River Thames. The church did not open till 1730 because a change in government repealed the tax before the work was complete.
This historic church was almost completely gutted by fire in 1850. It was restored between 1851 and 1854 by Philip Hardwick.
With support from the London Docklands Development Corporation, the roof and tower were again restored between 1983 and 1997, and completed when a ring of eight bells was finally added, these bells having previously hung in the tower of St Peter’s Church, Walworth in South London. Two more bells were cast at the Whitechapel Bellfoundry in 2004 to complete the present ring of ten bells.
Those coming on Sunday on Sunday afternoon will be able to climb to the top and see the restored Victorian clock mechanism and admire the view across the local area. The Docklands Ringers will also be on hand to demonstrate the bells being rung, you will be able to have a go. You will also be able to view inside the main roofspace and see how the Victorian timbers have been ingeniously strengthened with a delicate space age tubular steel framework, threaded between the old timbers.
If you can’t make 6th September, the Docklands Ringers will be holding a ‘taster evening’ on Wednesday 9th September between 7.30 and 9.00pm when you can also come up and see the tower and find out more about the bells.