St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch

Restoration of the clock faces.

St Leonard’s Church is first referred to during the 12th century – during the 16th century, it became known as the ‘Actors’ Church’ as it was the parish church for the local theatres and staged the first productions of plays by Shakespeare. Surviving a partial collapse in 1716, the church was rebuilt by George Dance the Elder between 1736 and 1740. Dance added a Doric portico, clock tower, belfry and 192 foot steeple. The church has been a well-known East End landmark for centuries - the famous children’s nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons, mentions the church bells with the line “When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch”.

The ironwork of the church’s clock is rusting and much of the glazing is lost. St Leonard’s west end is now undergoing full restoration and HOLT has given a grant to repair the clock faces.

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