Wren Spires (2 of 5)

Px04932_Stamp_261x400_email - 11 Oct 2015

Above: The towers of St Nicholas Cole Abbey, (foreground) and St Mary le Bow with the modern office block called Broadgate Tower in the background.

In the foreground, on this ‘email stamp’, is the ornate spire of St Nicholas Cole Abbey. Quite how the ‘add-on’ names of ‘Cole Abbey’ arose is not entirely clear. Cole could be a personal name, possibly of a founder. The church was never an abbey. Another explanation is that the name is a corruption of ‘cold harbour’ which was a very basic shelter for travellers. There may have been such a shelter nearby.

With plenty of platform length to walk along, it is relatively easy to ‘line up’ a Wren church spire with a modern office block. The second church spire is that of the well-known St Mary le Bow, standing in Cheapside. Behind it — almost a mile away — is the 540 feet high Broadgate Tower, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). A thought that runs through your mind as an observer of this view is that the modern ‘religion’ is making money and therefore the elegant spires from Wren’s day are now competing with the even taller ‘steeples’ that make money for the City — in the form of slim office blocks like the one seen here.

The red-brick building seen along the lower edge of the view is part of the City of London School, which faces onto the river. As has been already mentioned in this series, evidence of building work is never far from the main subject on these stamps. This particular crane was obstructing the otherwise elegant view. The blue and white crane was carrying out construction work from a floating platform on the River Thames.


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