St John’s, Smith Square

sights / Religious

St John’s, Smith Square information

Location
London , England
Address
Smith Sq
Westminster, SW1
Telephone
+44 20 7222 2168
Getting there
Tube: Westminster, St James’s Park
More information
www.sjss.org.uk
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In the heart of Westminster, this eye-catching church was built by Thomas Archer in 1728 under Queen Anne's Fifty New Churches Act (1711), which aimed to build that many new churches for London’s rapidly growing metropolitan area. After receiving a direct hit during WWII, it was rebuilt in the 1960s as a classical music venue, and is renowned for its excellent acoustics.

Though they never did build all 50 churches, St John’s, along with about a dozen others, saw the light of day. Unfortunately, with its four corner towers and monumental facades, the structure was much maligned for the first century of its existence thanks to rumours that Queen Anne likened it to a footstool. Nonetheless, it’s generally agreed now that the church is a masterpiece of English baroque. The brick-vaulted Footstool Restaurant in the crypt is a delightful choice for sustenance or a coffee.