A few miles further east from St George’s in the East is another Hawksmoor church, St Anne’s Limehouse which was built between 1714 and1727 and consecrated in 1730. It’s next door to Limehouse town hall, which we visited over 20 years ago when it housed the Labour History Museum (since relocated to Manchester and re-invented as the People’s History Museum). at that time I wasn’t particularly interested in architecture so never paid any notice to the church next door. The Dockland’s Light Railway runs right past the churche’s southern boundary and I couldn’t help but notice it when returning from Greenwich after visiting the Cutty Sark last August.
It many ways St Anne’s is quite similar to St George’s with a distinctive octagonal tower
Although the corner towers are more conventional than those on St George’s.
Other than the tower, which has some Corinthian columns and pilasters the exterior of the church isn’t particularly heavily ornamented. The walls at the side and back are relatively plain.
We would have liked to get a closer view and look around the grounds. But all the gates to the churchyard were firmly padlocked and there didn’t seem to be any way to gain access. Which was a real pity and we were rather disappointed.
The church is not far from the Thames and the tower can be seen from the river so it became a landmark for every ship entering the Pool of London. The clock, which is the highest church clock in London, was intended to be seen by the seafarers. There’s a connection with the Royal Navy and flies the White Ensign at the top of the tower and above that there’s a golden ball, which until recently was a Trinity House sea mark for navigating the Thames.
The clockface itself is quite distinctive and, I thought, attractive.
There’s a lithograph by John Piper of St Annes from 1964 from his ‘A Retrospective of Churches’ of which the Tate have a copy.