April 4

St Johns Hoxton 2

 St John’s Parish Church stands at the junction with New North Road and Pitfield St.

The church has a beautiful garden which many local residents and office workers use for a sandwich or for children to play.

History

Completed in 1826, St John’s is the only church built to the design of Francis Edwards, one of Sir John Soane‘s foremost pupils. A Georgian building in the Classical style, the church is a large example of a Commissioners’ church, retaining its floor plan intact as well as its galleries. The church’s décor is notable, in particular its painted ceiling. It was executed by the prominent architect Joseph Arthur Reeve in the early 20th century.

In Victorian London the parish’s work was recognised by social campaigners, such as the philanthropist Charles Booth, for its welfare work in a deteriorating inner-city environment. To give opportunities to the “local poor”,[6] the first vicar founded what became London’s largest savings bank[7] and St John’s National Schools[8] which still thrive. Many members of the church became missionaries in Africa and Asia, among them the first Bishop of Chota Nagpur, the Rt Revd Jabez Cornelius Whiteley, whose father was chaplain to the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hospital School formerly located in Pitfield Street.[9][10]

Robert Aske‘s legacy still benefits the parish and Haberdasher Street, like Aske Gardens, remain in memory of his original generosity.[11]

 One of the 18th-century residents of Hoxton Square,[12] the Revd John Newton, composed the popular hymn “Amazing Grace“.[13] Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-97), the writer and philosopher, was born at Hoxton.

The maternal great-great-grandfather of Kate Middleton (now the Duchess of Cambridge), John Goldsmith, was married to Esther Jones at St John’s Church in 1850.[14]