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St. Mary le Strand, London

4.3
#118 of 266 in Historic Sites in London
St Mary le Strand is a Church of England church at the eastern end of the Strand in the City of Westminster, London. It lies within the Deanery of Westminster (St Margaret) within the Diocese of London. The church stands on what is now a traffic island to the north of Somerset House, King's College London's Strand campus, and south of Bush House (now also part of King's College London). It is the official church of the Women's Royal Naval Service, and has a book of remembrance for members who have died in service. The nearest tube station is Temple, with the now-closed Aldwych station nearly opposite the church. It is known as one of the two 'Island Churches', the other being St Clement Danes.
The church is the second to have been called St Mary le Strand, the first having been situated a short distance to the south. The date of its foundation is unclear but it was mentioned in a judgment of 1222, when it was called the Church of the Innocents, or St Mary and the Innocents. It was pulled down in 1549 by Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset to make way for Somerset House. The parishioners were promised a new church, which was never built, forcing them to move to the nearby church of St Clement Danes and afterwards to the Savoy Chapel. The site now occupied by the modern church was formerly occupied by a great maypole which had been the scene of May Day festivities in the 16th and 17th century but was severely decayed by the early 18th century.
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St. Mary le Strand Reviews
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  • I have wanted to visit the church on many occasions but every time i've been in the area the gates have been shut. It only opens for services twice a week, you can however book a tour though their web...  more »
  • London's busy Strand has two churches in the pedestrian islands, St. Clement Danes and St. Mary's Strand. The latter is perhaps more well known and more interesting from an architectural point of view, as it seems perfectly calibrated to occupy the limited space at its disposal, with development more in height (bell tower) than on the surface. Although it's late Baroque, the interior is relatively bare, but elegant and bright. It's probably not one of the priority attractions to visit in London, but it remains a good cause for interest in this beautiful metropolis.
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