St Giles’ Terrace

The architects designed the terrace round St Giles’ Church to stretch right back to Wallside and its houses. In the end, the lake was extended from Mountjoy House almost to The Postern and so separated the terrace from Wallside by a moat. From the terrace you can still see across gardens and Romantic bits of old City wall as far as the less Romantic, dual carriageway of London Wall.

From time to time herons have been spotted, apparently living on St Giles’ roof where they have a good view of lunch swimming in the lake below.

The church yard surrounding the church was built as a brick bastion, with broad steps down to the lake, 2.8 meters below. Gas lamps from Tower Bridge were sited along the waterside. There are brick plinths for seating.

Chamberlain, Powell and Bon drew on the fact that the typical village pub was traditionally built next to the church in ye olde England and so ‘Crowders’ Well’ public house – now a restaurant – was built under Andrewes House next to the terrace.

Less traditionally, the architects incorporated a montage of gravestones into the plinths and the sides of the walls, adding a shot of memento mori for anyone having a cigarette. The grave-stones are a valuable habitat for lichens and mosses.

An ancient Cracked Willow used to stand outside the entrance to St Giles’ Church. It was apparently 18 feet in circumference. As its name implies, cracked willow branches fall off from time to time. It was deemed there was a risk of branches falling on the lunchtime clientele of Crowder’s Well. The tree was cut down. Now there’s no clientele and no tree. I think they should have waited. (A tree surgeon comes every year and inspects all the trees.)