A history of London in pictures: the Temple area

I have been living in London for a number of years, but a busy life didn’t quite give me a chance to thoroughly visit it – in fact, very little did I see.

One day, on my way from the library to the college, I decided to take a side street instead, which lead to an interesting and unexpected sightseeing. I discovered that Temple has a name for a reason (of course!): The Temple located at its heart in a relatively hidden and unmarked backyard.

IMG_0379Middle Temple Hall: Elizabeth I, stained glass in the Queen’s Room

This little story started with the mention of a library, the Maughan Library. It’s a fine 19th century listed building located in Chancery Lane, whose full history can be found on the Victorian Web page here. Inside, among other things, there are a beautiful octagonal reading room and a (repurposed) medieval chapel; from the facade windows there is a great view of the neighbouring buildings and rooftops. In its courtyard it also features a small, peaceful garden with a bronze statue of Confucius.

Maughan Library in Chancery Lane

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As I was saying before digressing in the library sub-thread, wandering through a certain alley, I found myself in a quiet area, right in the heart of the city – hard to believe, with little squares, historic buildings and evocative atmospheres. I didn’t really know what the name of this area was, until I later reached the nearby Temple tube station and realised that its name came from the place I just visited. The Temple neighbourhood is formed by small side streets that lead to hidden squares, grand buildings in different styles and it borders the River Thames.

Views of the Temple area

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Lastly, I would like to introduce the Temple Church, which was built in the 12th century and was since its origins related to the order of the Knights Templar; its circular base makes reference to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The church hosts several tombs and marble effigies of medieval knights. In Victorian times its interiors were restyled to revive its original gothic atmosphere, but sadly WWII bombings damaged the church and the inner works, which were lost.

(A more detailed account of its history can be found on this Temple Church webpage.)

Imagethe interior of the Round Church section on the Temple Church in London (plate 84 of Microcosm of London, 1810, available here)

Imagethe knightly effigy tombs (photo by Alan Ford, available here)

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Image Imagethe two knights on one horse iconography recall the Templars’ lack of horse and poor beginnings, but this may well have been a tale or a symbol of Charity (source: Temple Church’s webpage)

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This little tour of the Temple area in London has come to an end, I hope that you may have enjoyed it. All pictures were originally taken for my own memory and were not intended for public use – this justifies (?) their not highest quality.

There may be follow up threads for my ‘A history of London in pictures’, depending on my writing “inspiration” and energies. Please feel free to leave your thoughts.

Enjoy your travels, whichever part of the planet your foot will tread.

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7 thoughts on “A history of London in pictures: the Temple area

  1. Great photos! I really enjoyed looking through them. The ‘knightly tombs’ relief (sculpture?) work is amazing. Thanks so much.

  2. itwasjudith says:

    Thanks, Nadine! It took me “just” over seven years to discover this area that was around the corner of places I regularly frequent… thus my desire to document it with pics =)

    • Funny how sometimes the most interesting things are right under our noses and we don’t ever get the chance to properly appreciate them during the daily grind of our lives. I just found a list of Titanic-related sites in Montreal this week, and I can’t wait to go check them out!

      • itwasjudith says:

        oh, yes.. I’m especially good at missing things that are “just around the corner”. As you rightly said, it’s the daily grid of our lives that possibly kills such opportunities, we’re just too entwined with getting to do what we have to do next on our schedule…

  3. MasonBentley says:

    I used to live round the corner from there..actually got married at St Ethelredas church 5 mins away…another gem..oldest catholic church in the UK..

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