City of London

St. Botolph, Aldgate, City of London

Not to be confused with St. Botolph’s, Aldersgate this is one of the largest of the City of London churches. It stands at the very edge of the City in Aldgate where the East End buts up against the City.

The Church was designed by George Dance the Elder and dates to around 1741. It is built from dark brick which gives it a rather dour appearance, belied by its interior which is all white plaster work with a magnificent barrel curved ceiling decorated by J.F. Bentley (the architect of Westminster Cathedral).

In the Victorian period it was known as the “Church of Prostitutes” – there was a prohibition for prostitutes to stand “on street corners” and so they got around this by working the small island on which the church stands inbetween roadways. Thus they were not standing on street corners and could not be arrested. It was this that probably attracted Jack the Ripper and it was close to here that he brutally murdered Catherine Eddowes, the Ripper’s third victim and the second on the same night.

Daniel Defoe was married in St. Botolph’s. During World War II a bomb hit the roof of the church, but it got stuck there and did not explode.

Today the Church focuses on the needs of the East End more than the City, the crypt is a homeless rehabilitation centre.

This is the "Bells of Aldgate" in the Oranges and Lemons Rhyme.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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