"St Dunstan-in-the-East is Testmanet to a Nation's Resiliency"

St Dunstan-in-the East

A hidden gem in the City of London, England. St Dunstan-in-the-East is a former Church of England Parish that is now a beautiful public garden.  First erected in 1100, the parish enjoys a rich 900-year history. Throughout this time, however, the church bears the scars of many key events of London’s history. First, the Great Fire of London in 1666 left echoes within its walls. Then in 1941, it fell victim to the London Blitz of World War II.

The London Blitz all but decimated the City of London. Beginning on September 7th, 1940, the city was rocked by consecutive shelling continuing over 60 days. The raids became such a way of life for Londoners that they often referred to them like the weather, remarking that the day was “very Blitzy.” In the end, the bombings left the city in ruin destroying over 1,000,000 homes, and Saint Dunstan-in-the-East was one of its many casualties. The terrible destruction of the Blitz left this historic church a scarred and empty shell, rotting and largely abandoned.

In 1967, the City of London Corporation went to work converting Dunstan-in the-East to a public garden. The city opened the churches gates again in 1971, and it became a popular green space in the city. Nevertheless, the grounds are a quiet and peaceful place where visitors can unwind and escape the bustle of the city. Overgrown with lush green trees, vines and wall climbing flowers, the once horrific remains of a terrible period in Britain’s history now serve as a metaphor for a nation’s resiliency. Perhaps no other spot in London is as peaceful and subtly beautiful as St Dunstan-in-the-East’s storied walls.

Photographing St Dunstan-in-the-East

Hidden among modern office buildings, St Dunstan-in-the-East rarely has crowds of tourists like other more popular London attractions. However, the location can be quite busy at certain times of the day. Wedding photographers will find this place a perfect location for engagement and wedding photos. Also, macro photographers will have a grand time photographing the flowers and insects in the springtime.  If you are into infrared photography, you will find this location perfect for capturing the bright reds of the plants against the muted white stone of the church.

St Dunstan-in-the-East is well hidden among office buildings, this sadly results in no natural angles for sunset or sunrise photography. Despite this, photographers will find soft and warm light be visiting early in the morning or in the waning hours of the day. Happily, the reflected shade of the surrounding buildings creates a nice combination warm and diffuse light. Also, during this time of day foot traffic will be at its lowest and you may find the place all to yourself. Specifically, we recommend adding marco, wide angle, and normal lenses to your kit.

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