Remembering London's Blitz


On 9 September 1940, shocked parishioners saw the ruins of St Mary's Church burning. A large high explosive bomb had been dropped during the third night of the London Blitz and St Mary's is reputed to have been the first church in the capital to have been devastated.

Only the tower and spire built in 1754 remained standing.

The architects, Seely and Paget, were briefed by the Revd Hugh Gough, Vicar, to create a Church that was spacious and light. Construction took two years and the church was opened on 17 December 1956.

Visitors to St Mary's today still enter through a porch beneath the eighteenth century spire and on entering the vast worship space look up into the light interior. Behind them, over the door, a guilt inscription reads, "Destroyed by war. Restored in faith."

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to those whose sacrifice in rebuilding the church leaves us a legacy of generosity and committed service to the people in our neighbourhood. Upper Street has changed considerably in recent years but St Mary's worship, vision and hard work continue. Memories of tragedy from seventy years ago must not be lost and we have much to learn from our forebears' courageous faith and their trust that God redeems brokenness and sorrow."