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The present church of St. Paul’s, Bow Common
1 Overview of section A
A 2-3 Introduction
A 3-4 Britain’s Best Modern Church
A 4-5 How does somewhere like Bow Common come to have such
a world-class building?
A 5-7 World War II
A 7-12 … and after
A 9-12 Early plans for a new church and the union of parishes
A 11-12 A new Vicar arrives - Fr. Gresham Kirkby
A 13-17 A new church is planned – but who will design it?
A 18 Embodying a unique vision for a church - the pieces come together
A 19 Fr. Gresham Kirkby
A 20-21 Robert Maguire
A 21-22 Keith Murray
A 22-23 Michael Murray
A 23 Fr. John Groser
A 24 Ralph Beyer
A 25-27 The new church evolves - the First Design
A 27-29 The Liturgical Movement
A 29-30 The New Churches Research Group
A 30-32 Review of Post-War Modernism
A 32-37 Maguire and Murray
A 33, 35, New Brutalism
A 37-38 Coventry Cathedral, what St. Paul’s, Bow Common is NOT
39-40 References
41 Overview of Section B
B 42-44 Back to basics – why do we need churches?
B 44-45 What did Maguire and Murray find going on in Bow Common?
B 45-48 The ‘First Design’
B 48-50 The ‘London Plan’ for rebuilding London – the context for the new church
B 50-51 The Final Design of the church emerges
B 52 The new church begins to be built
B 52-56 Commentaries published on the new building as it is built
B 56-61 The Foundation Stone is laid
B 62-64 The church is built
B 65-67 The church is consecrated
B 68-70 First reactions to the church in the press
B 70-73 Earliest images of the church
B 74-75 Maguire and Murray form an architectural practice
B 76-83 Architectural reviews of the new church, published 1963-1998
84-85 References
86 Overview of section C
C 87-90 What lies within? Some external aspects
C 91-92 Some broad features
C 92-93 General principles of the building
C 93-96 First impressions inside and out
C 97 Elements of the church
C 98-104 The Church porch and west doors
C 98-101;102-103 The Porch lettering ; a near miss
C 103-107 The Font
C 108-109 The concentric ‘Bounding Layers’ of the church
C 109-110 The colonnade
C 110-113 The processional way
C 114 Seating
C 115-116 A very flexible space
C 116-118 The Sanctuary ~ the ‘Place of Light’
C 118-119 The place of the Altar
C 119-120 The significance of steps
C 121-123 The Altar and ciborium
C 123-125 ‘Inclusive Space’
C 126 The significance of the High Altar
C 122, 127-128 The Standing Space
C 128-132 The chapels
133-149 The mosaic of the ‘Heavenly Host’
150-151 References
Final Features
152 Overview of section D
D 153-155 Meeting Room,
D 156,157,157 Music, Electric Lighting, Bells,
D 158, 159 President’s Chair, Sanctuary Chairs; Credence Tables; Legilium
D 160, 160-161 Choir Lectern, Processional Cross,
D 162, 162-163 Sanctuary Lamps, Sconces
D 163, 164 Thurible, Crucifix
D 165-166 Altar Dressings
D 167-170 Final architectural comments on internal fittings
D 171 The Vicarage
Repairs and revelations:
D 172-176 Downpipe repairs
D 177-181 Upper roof renewal 2005
D 182-188 Woodwool fall 2013
189-190 References
Tracing a little of the History of the Parish
191 Overview of section E
E 192-198 Bow Common from Tudor times to 1853 in maps
E 199-211 Bow Common – a Nuisance to the whole East End
E 211-215 Bow Common from 1862-1914
E 216-217 William Cotton
E 218-221 The first St. Paul’s, Bow Common is built
E 222-226 William Cotton is honoured by the Diocese
227 Overview of section F
F 228-231 The interior of the old Church
F 232-236 The Ritualist Scandal prevents a Rood Beam being introduced
into the church
F 237 The Rood Beam appears
F 238-240 Some mementoes of the past
F 241-247 The first Church celebrates its 50th Anniversary – a Retrospect
F 248-259 St. Luke’s, Burdett Rd.
F 260 Churchgoing in our area around 1900
The Clergy who have served Bow Common
261 Overview of section G
G 262 Arthur Cotton, Rowland Plummer,
G 263 Walter Forster,
G 264-266 Jonathan Goodwin, Cyril Carter
G 267-280 Reginald Gresham Kirkby
G 281 Duncan Ross, Bernadette Hegarty
G 281 List of Curates at St. Paul’s, Bow Common
G 282 List of Vicars and Curates at St. Luke’s, Burdett Rd.
Then and Now
283 Overview of section H
H 284-286 Glimpses of the changing church and parish surroundings
H 287-297 The Church Schools
H 298-304 The ‘Barnardo connection’ with the parishes
H 305-312 Views in and around the parish, both then and now
St. Paul’s, Bow Common continues to reveal its ‘Nearness to Need’
313 Overview of section I
I 314-315 The needs of the area and community have changed greatly
I 315-318 Shamiana, the building is discovered in a new way
I 319; 320-321 50 years on; Views of the 50th Anniversary
I 322-325 The present context
I 326-329 Liturgical needs and the flexibility of the building
I 329-340 Serving the needs of the whole life of the community
I 341-344 Final comments on all of this from Bob Maguire
I 344-347 Comments on the church & on Charles Lutyens’ ‘The Outraged Christ’
All © DUNCAN ROSS 2015


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This detailed and authoritative guide is the painstaking, dedicated work of Father Duncan Ross, Vicar of St Paul's, Bow Common from 1995 - 2013.  

We are grateful for the very kind permission to publicise this work.

Please address any comments or enquiries to the church via this website in the first instance, which will be passed on.
© Duncan Ross 2016

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