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St Luke's, Old Street

And on the subject of Hawksmoor churches with odd spires, I bring you St Luke’s, Old Street with this rather striking obelisk spire which he also designed.

But this is the only bit of the church that he did design, well that and the flanking staircase wings. Although that seems to me to be pretty much the main part, and so the debate on who built it rages on. (The other architect was John James, btw).

Anyway it never really worked that well as a church, built as it was on marshy land so lots of subsidence and to this day, you can notice the distorted shapes of the windows on one side.

In the mid 1960’s, after it had been abandoned and ruinous for years, it was taken over and turned into a concert hall, rehearsal and recording space principally for the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) but has been used by artists as diverse as Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Van Morrison and Duffy (remember her? I thought she was great).

To be clear, the LSO performs principally at the Barbican nearby, but you can hear open rehearsals if you pick your time right. Additional rooms in the crypt provide practice facilities for professional musicians, students and community groups.

St Luke's Old Street

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