Sunday, October 01, 2006


Before today I have never ventured into the church yard of St Anne's. It's a refuge for winos and the atmosphere, to me at least, has always seemed ominous and oppressive. This impression was reinforced by reading Ackroyd's Hawksmoor earlier in the year:

They [the Settlement of Sturdy Beggars] are a Society in Miniature, and will nurse up a brood of Beggars from Generation to Generation even until the World's End. And their place is next to my Church: they are the Pattern of Humane Life, for others are but one Step away from their Condition, and they acknowledge that the beginning and end of all Flesh is but Torment and Shaddowe.

Eerie. I took the plunge today taking a deep breath as I stepped through the gateway. I've survived to tell the tale.

 Posted by Picasa

2 comments:

Charis said...

There are several St Anne's/St Ann's churches in London according to Google. However I gather this one is at Limehouse. Some of my ancestors lived in that parish and were married/dispatched there. Didn't realise it was such a run down area, probably even then.

Rehan Qayoom said...

This is the church Betjeman thought was possibly Hawksmoor's greatest, one always passes it on the train from Barking which itself offers a few fine views in itself before reaching its destination at Fenchurch Street.

And Barking, yes described, once
again by Peter Ackroyd (one of my favourite writers) who's descriptive verdict on anythying is virtually the final word

There is a harshness about
Barking, for example, which
makes it dissimilar from
Walthamstow; here a native
population seems to have
maintained its presence, with a
kind of bleakness or hardness of
attitude. The survival of part
of the ancient abbey in no way
dimishes that atmosphere, which
is powerfully sustained by the
presence of the old creek from
which the majority of the
population onvce earned their
living. It remains a stranegly
isolated or self-communing
neighbourhood, where the London
accent seems peculiarly thick.
(LONDON - The Biography.
Peter Ackroyd. Vintage,
2000).