Friends' events

The Friends of the City Churches are currently offering a series of talks online via the Zoom video conferencing service ( Zoom is free and easy to join, and you can use it to stay in touch with friends and family, and enjoy many talks and other entertainment online.

Please book through the Eventbrite ticketing service ( This is also free and easy to join, and a gateway to all kinds of other events online. Booking helps us to predict numbers, and automates the delivery process so that you will receive booking confirmation, reminders and a clickable link to the talk shortly before the event.

With greater capacity for events online than in person, the Friends' Zoom lectures are open to the public to offer non-members a sample of our activities. We ask for a modest donation, payable through Eventbrite, to support the work of the Friends of the City Churches, and this ongoing lecture programme, open to all while we continue to hold events online.

Donations via our Virgin Money Giving account are always welcome to support the work of the Friends of the City Churches.

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Talks last about an hour, with questions and answers to follow.. As this content is the speakers' own intellectual property, often developed over years of research, these talks will not be recorded for later broadcast.

On Tuesday, 16 November 2021, at 2:00 pm GMT, architectural historian Dr Mark Kirby discusses the magnificent woodcarving above the altar of St Mary Abchurch, the only authenticated work by the master carver Grinling Gibbons in the parish churches of the City, and the fascinating story of how the design and decoration of the post-Fire churches helped to further a vision of a newly unified Church of England after a century and more of upheaval and reform.
Eventbrite booking:

CANCELLED: We regret that The Tooting Broads' lunchtime concert for St Cecilia's Day at St Mary Abchurch, on 22 November 2021, has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. We hope to welcome Jane and Cressida for another concert in the New Year. Tickets have been refunded directly through Eventbrite.

On Tuesday, 7 December 2021, at 2:00 pm GMT, popular City Guide and Lecturer Jill Finch looks at Christmas in the historic City of London. For many centuries, the City was the heart of London, with people of all classes living and working side by side, and celebrating their annual festivals together. From Saturalia to Scrooge, meet Boy Bishops, mummers, unruly apprentices (and their masters), along with some very familiar literary figures, who all revelled within the ancient Square Mile.
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On Monday, 13 December 2021, the Friends of the City Churches will hold our annual Carol Service at St Mary Abchurch, with the Revd Dr Andrew Walker, and music by St John's Wood Church Chamber Choir, and guest organist Ian Shaw (Durham Cathedral, Cantate Choir). As we may need to manage numbers for social distancing, Friends will be sent a link for advance booking online, with advice for those Friends without e-mail in November's Skyline.

On Thursday, 20 January 2022 at 2pm GMT, FCC Trustee Signe Hoffos looks at the evidence for the many Lost City Churches overcome by fire, war and urban redevelopment over the centuries. Fewer were rebuilt than destroyed after the Great Fire of 1666 and WWII bombing, but even the Tudors removed churches for traffic calming, while the Victorians demolished several as the City's resident population fell. This talk complements the Lost City Churches Project (LCCP), which the Friends are supporting.
Eventbrite booking:

On Wednesday, 16 February 2022 at 2pm GMT, Blue Badge Guide Rowan Freeland offers an Introduction to Heraldry. The City Churches are rich in heraldry, from the prominent Royal Coat of Arms seen in many, to the distinctive Lord Mayors' sword rests, Livery Companies' branding, stained glass windows, family monuments on the walls and even ledger stones in the floors, as well as some surprising additional touchs when you know where to look.
Eventbrite booking:

The Grinling Gibbons Society will present a series of live events at St Mary Abchurch to mark the tercentenary of the death of master carver Grinling Gibbons (4 April 1648 - 3 August 1721). The magnificent reredos above the communion table at St Mary Abchurch is the only authenticated work by Gibbons in the City of London parish churches. Correspondence in his own hand demonstrates that he had to press for payment once the carving was "folle Anof of work"; his spelling in these and other letters suggests that he could write both Dutch and English, and spoke with a Dutch accent.

On Friday, 30 July 2021, evensong at St Mary Abchurch commemorated the life of Grinling Gibbons, who died on 3 August 1721. The service was led by the Friends' Chaplain, the Revd David Goodburn, in the presence of the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, who gave the sermon.

Art and Ornament, an exhibition of painting and wood carving, ran at St Mary Abchurch for the first three weeks of August, and then transferred to The Dutch Church for two weeks. It was complemented by the exhibition of Gibbons' work, Centuries in the Making, at Bonham's in New Bond Street in August, and Wizardry in Wood, a selling exhibition of work by modern makers, organised by the Worshipful Company of Turners at Carpenters' Hall in October. A full year's programme of events around the country follows throughout 2022; please visit the Grinling Gibbons Society for more information on forthcoming exhibitions, lectures and concerts.

Grinling Gibbons Concerts

A series of live rush-hour concerts at St Mary Abchurch will explore the words and music of Gibbons' time. Tickets (£10, concessions £8) must be reserved in advance by contacting, and paid in cash or by credit card on the door. Each concert will last approximately one hour.

Thursday, 5 August 2021 at 6:30 pm
Violinist Krysia Osostowicz, leader of the Brodsky Quartet, will play Sonata Nº 2 in A minor and Partita Nº 2 in D minor, composed in 1720 by Johann Sebastian Bach, on an instrument made that same year.

Concerts in 2022:

Thursday, 28 April 2022 at 6:30 pm
In 'Gibbons, A Musical Man, 1648-1721', ArchiCantiores perform words and music by James Shirley, Robert Johnson, John Evelyn and John Donne, inter alia, led by Jonathan Louth, Advisor to the Legacy Project of the Grinling Gibbons Tercentenary.

On Thursday, 5 May 2022 at 6:30 pm
Mezzo-soprano Catherine King and harpist Frances Kelly perform songs of love, passion and devotion by Blow, Banister, Croft, Purcell, Geminiani and Handel.

On Thursday, 19 May 2022 at 6:30 pm
Woodwind students from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, directed by Ian Wilson, Head of Woodwind, perform a concert for the Turners' Company . The programme will feature instruments and music from the time of Gibbons, including examples seen within his carvings.

On Thursday,  26 May 2022, 6:30 pm
A concert for Grinling Gibbons with students from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama led by Christopher Suckling, Head of Historical Performance.

Stained glass window


Wooden Boss