St Pancras Church

Restoration of stone caryatids

St Pancras Church was consecrated by the Bishop of London on 7 May 1822. The architects were William Inwood and son Henry Inwood and the builder was Isaac Thomas Seabrook. The church cost a total of £90,000. It is an example of Greek Revival architecture based upon the Erechtheion in Athens. In addition to the basic Greek Temple form and the west portico with its six fluted Ionic columns, the church has two caryatid porches above the entrances to the burial vaults, inspired by the arrival of one of the Athenian originals in London coupled with Inwood’s Grand Tour. The 3-stage octagonal west tower is partly modelled on the Tower of the Winds.

The church is built of brick and faced with Portland Stone. The caryatids were modelled by John Rossi (formerly a modeller at Coade's Manufactury) and built up in terracotta pieces around a cast-iron structure. During the Blitz, the church roof was badly damaged and windows were blown out, but the caryatids were only marginally damaged.

The historic metal cramps in the statues are now corroding, expanding and cracking the structure. A ground penetrating radar survey will assess the extent of metal features and whether there is a metal post inside the caryatids. This will inform the subsequent restoration project.

whitechapel 2.jpg