ST. Clement Danes (RAF) Church: Damage and Reconstruction
WORLD WAR TWO
London No Publisher. c.1955.
Contemporary quarter cloth album; oblong folio, printed label to front board. Label to first page ' War Ministry Photographic & Reproductions Branch'. Twenty four photographs show the church before reconstruction and 100 showing the progress of reconstruction. The majority of the photographs are 12 by 9 cms. A number of annotated labels and each photograph is numbered on the page. St Clement Danes is an Anglican church in the City of Westminster, London. It is situated outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand. Although the first church on the site was reputedly founded in the 9th century by the Danes, the current building was completed in 1682 by Sir Christopher Wren. The church was almost destroyed by German bombs during the London Blitz on 10 May 1941. The outer walls, the tower and steeple survived the bombing, but the interior was gutted by fire. As a result of the blaze, the church's ten bells fell to the ground. Subsequently, they were placed in storage and were recast after the war. Following an appeal for funds by the Royal Air Force, the church was completely restored under the supervision of Sam Lloyd. It was re-consecrated on 19 October 1958 to become the Central Church of the Royal Air Force. This album records these efforts and loosely inserted are a number of pieces of ephemera including an 18 page booklet setting out the details of an appeal for funds. An inscription was added to the fabric in Latin which translates as, "Christopher Wren built it 1672. The thunderbolts of aerial warfare destroyed it 1941. The Royal Air Force restored it 1958." Fine a few spots to the boards and some tape remains to the inside front cover.