Stepney High Street, E1 0NR
There has been Christian worship on this site since at least the early 10th century AD. Apparently this pattern of worship sites being on the roads leading to the river is evident all over the UK. It is now a very busy Anglican church.
The first stone structure was put here in 952, but the current structure was built from 1250 onwards and is regarded as a good example of medieval church architecture with different bits added and replaced over a few hundred years. St Dunstan’s and All Saints is the oldest church in the east end.
Originally All Saints church, when St Dunstan, Bishop of London, was canonised in 1029 his name was added to the church. Fun fact: he is the patron saint of gold and silversmiths.
Keep an eye out for: behind the pulpit, near the organ is an Anglo-Saxon carving that is from the early stone structure of the church. It’s at least 1000 years old!
Some great old pics can be found here
Best nearby: Stepney City Farm, this tiny farm is worth a visit, farmer Simon is very friendly, there’s a cafe and on Saturdays from 10-3 there’s a farmer’s market.
269 Westferry Road, E14 3RS.
This interesting building has been beautifully re-purposed to be a performing arts venue with a cute cafe/bar and the patronage of Sir Ian McKellan.
But, it was built in 1859 as a Presbyterian church to cater for the influx of Scottish Presbyterian migrants who came to the area to work in the shipyards – this is the docklands area after all.
There had been a mission in the area since the 1840s but they had not had the number to require a permanent place of worship and they didn’t have this congregation for long!
When the shipyards were closed in the 1960s and 70s the worshipping population declined severely and the church closed in 1972.
The St. Paul’s Art Trust was established in the 1989 and took over the now-vacant building. A lot of work has been done to restore it. Now visitors can enjoy a very detailed facade with lovely stain glass. Architecturally, it is revered for its demonstration of early use of laminated timber.
Worth checking out for the building, its story and the good it is now providing the local community!
Best nearby: The Space’s resident cafe/bar the Hubbub.