An Alphabet of London Churches

During my Spring 2022 semester in London, my colleague James Strange challenged me to follow up on the alphabetical tour of Birmingham, Alabama, that I had staged with a small black toy bear named Winter. She’s a useful prop and brings a bit of levity to the serious business that is the study of church architecture.

Initially, I resisted but ended up doing it. The results were shared serially on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #churchesoflondonwithwinterthebear. I’ve posted them here for convenient access by Winter’s fans and included some outtakes not previously released.

Winter hamming it up outside St. Jude’s Courtfield Gardens in Easter Week.

While the Birmingham tour was captured all on one Saturday bicycle ride, the London tour was shot throughout the spring and not in alphabetical order. Some letters, such as A, were shot simply as we were traveling by with the bear in the bag. Others, particularly rare letters like I, X, and Z required Winter to plan special trips.

Winter with her classic A to Z map. Her handlers depended on Google, City Mapper, and happenstance.

Winter’s various, sometimes partially hidden positions, were one of the most popular parts of the initial series with children (Where’s Winter?). But in the busy streets of London her photographers was worried someone might run off with her, so she is generally more obvious here. We hope you still enjoy the adventure.!

A is for Andrew—St. Andrew by the Wardrobe


B is for Barnabas—St. Barnabas, Pimlico

B could have been for Bow: St. Mary-le-Bow.

C is for Cafe—Host Cafe in St. Mary Aldermary

Of course there were lots of other options for C, particularly those named Christ Church like these in Kensington and Chelsea.

D is for Dane—St. Clement Dane

Winter is sleeping here outside the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition of the Theotokos (originally erected as All Saints’ Anglican). She thought dormition meant dormitory, a place to sleep.

E is for Earl’s—St. Philip’s, Earl’s Court

F is for First—First Church of Christ, Scientist

G is for Giles—St. Giles-without-Cripplegate Church

G could have been for Gloucester: St. Stephen’s Gloucester Road just a short stroll from Winter’s home base.

H is for Holy—Holy Trinity Sloane Square

I for for Ignatius—St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church, Stamford Hill

J is for Jude—St Jude’s Church, Courtfield Gardens

K is for Kensington—Kensington United Reformed Church

L is for Luke— St. Luke’s Church, Chelsea

M is for Mark—St. Mark’s Mayfair, St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church

There is a lot to ponder at Mercato Mayfair.

N is for Notting—All Saints’ Church Notting Hill

O is for Oratory—Brompton Oratory, the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

P is for Peter and Paul—The Chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul, Greenwich

The letter P and the word “bear” bring this friend to many people’s mind. Winter spotted him outside of St. Paul’s Cathedral, but unlike Winter he was trapped in a shop window

Q is for Queen’s—St. Augustine’s Queen’s Gate / HTB Queen’s Gate

While Winter didn’t make it to Queen’s Gate she did visit the memorial to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The corgi didn’t seem to mind.

R is for Royal—The Royal Military Chapel

S is for Saint—Saint Paul’s Cathedral

T is for Thomas—St. Thomas’ Parish Church Clapton Common

U is for Ukrainian—

V is for Very and Violet—Violet Light in a Very Important Church: St. Martin-in-the-Fields

Winter made multiple trips to St. Martin’s. You may need to click on the photo to expand it to see the whole view.

W is for Westminster—Westminster Chapel

X is for Xavier—Chapel of St. Francis Xavier, Farm Street Church

Y is for Yeghiche—St. Yeghiche Armenian Church

Z is for Zimbabwean—The Catholic Zimbabwean Chaplaincy

Thanks for reading. Winter also likes train travel and flowers, perhaps she will have another adventure.

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