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CHRIST CHURCH, SPITALFIELDS: COMMERCIAL STREET, TOWER HAMLETS

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 P93/CTC1
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/london-metropolitan-archives/Pages/ ›
Full title: CHRIST CHURCH, SPITALFIELDS: COMMERCIAL STREET, TOWER HAMLETS
Date(s): 1702-2004
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 16.42 linear metres.
Name of creator(s): Parish of Christ Church, Spitalfields | Church of England

Context

Administrative/Biographical history:

Between 1197 and the sixteenth century the site of Spital Square was occupied by the Priory of Saint Mary, Spittle, which included a hospice providing lodgings for travellers and an outdoor pulpit from which sermons were preached. By the end of the seventeenth century the population of the area had increased, with the influx of refugee Huguenot silk weavers to Spitalfields. In 1711 the "Act for the building of Fifty New Churches in the Cities of London and Westminster or the Suburbs thereof" was passed, to be paid for by a tax levied on coal entering the City of London. Under the Act, Nicholas Hawksmoor was asked to design a church to serve this large new community. Building began in 1715 but the building was not completed until 1729.

The decline of the area and increasing poverty meant that by 1958 the building had to be closed because it was in a state of poor repair and was becoming dangerous. The church community moved into a combined church and hall on nearby 22 Hanbury Street. A church hall was also situated on Buxton Street. From 1965 onwards restorations took place under the management of the Friends of Christ Church Spitalfields to repair what is described as one of Hawksmoor's masterpieces. The restoration has been highly praised. A company, Christ Church Spitalfields Venue (CCCV) was created by the Friends to administer the restored church as a venue for conferences, events and filming. Money raised goes towards continuing the restoration and maintaining the building.

The parish has been united with Saint Mary's, Spital Square (P93/MRY2), Saint Stephen's, Commercial Street (P93/STE) and All Saints, Buxton Street with Saint Olave's Stepney (P93/ALL1).

From 1965 the Spitalfields Crypt Trust ran a shelter for homeless alcoholic men based in the Crypt of Christ Church (which was still considered safe to use despite the poor repair of the church above). The Trust developed a programme of counselling and rehabilitation for residents, and provided drop-in services for others. For men who had completed the recovery programme two second stage houses were opened, Bridge House in Bow and Downham Lodge in Stoke Newington. In the late 1990s the Trust, prompted by the ongoing renovations of the church, decided to work on a custom built facility which would have more modern conditions than possible in the Crypt. In 2000 Acorn House was opened in Shoreditch and continues to work with the homeless and those addicted to alcohol and drugs.

Content

Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the parish of Christ Church, Commercial Street, Spitalfields, including registers of baptisms, marriages, banns and burials; preachers' books; Vestry and Parochial Church Council minutes; financial accounts; legal documents (such as deeds, leases and conveyances) relating to parish property; papers relating to the maintenance of the church fabric; records relating to church personnel; correspondence and working papers of the incumbents; records of the parish school and parish charities; papers relating to parish boundaries and the benefice; parish newsletters and printed items. Also papers of the Overseers of the Poor.

The collection includes a large amount of material relating to the restoration of the church building by the Friends of Christ Church, including minutes, administrative papers, plans and reports; and a set of papers relating to the work of the Spitalfields Crypt Trust including minutes, press cuttings and photographs.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English

System of arrangement:

P93/CTC1-1-1: Parish Registers;
P93/CTC1-1-2: Church Buildings and Churchyard;
P93/CTC1-1-3: Civil Functions: Overseers of the Poor;
P93/CTC1-1-4: Church Personnel;
P93/CTC1-1-5: Parish Organisations: Schools;
P93/CTC1-1-6: Church Services/Work of Clergy;
P93/CTC1-1-7: Parish Administration;
P93/CTC1-1-8: Parish Finance;
P93/CTC1-1-9: Pairsh Charities;
P93/CTC1-1-10: Benefice;
P93/CTC1-1-11: Parish Boundaries;
P93/CTC1-1-12: Parish Societies/Clubs;
P93/CTC1-1-13: Friends of Christ Church / Christ Church Spitalfields Foundation;
P93/CTC1-1-14: Spitalfields Crypt Trust;
P93/CTC1-1-15: Printed Material.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at: http://search.lma.gov.uk/opac_lma/index.htm

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Records deposited by the Rector in July and November 1956, February 1972, January 1981 and July 1992. A large additional accession was deposited in 2005.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
April to June 2010, updated June 2012.

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