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“A Unique Location and Fitting Tribute”
Review of St. Clement Danes

St. Clement Danes
Reviewed 29 March 2014

Touring the City of London and all it has to offer was a highlight of our recent trip. We have been to London a number of times over the years but had not spent as much time in the City. The church is located in the middle of the street, where the Strand begins to turn into Fleet Street. Having survived the Great Fire, the church was literally destroyed in 1941 by a bomb and waited over a decade before being rebuilt. The end result is a quiet and meaningful tribute to the fallen flyers not only of the RAF but also other nations and more recent conflicts. Standing inside the church it is difficult to remember that you are in the middle of a busy street in London. Relax and enjoy the light filtering in and the memorials located throughout. A reminder of the past, a tribute to the losses of war, and a lesson that beautiful architecture can indeed endure and be rebuilt.

Thank Pat H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"beautiful church"
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"royal air force"
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"dr johnson"
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"great acoustics"
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"peaceful place"
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Reviewed 21 February 2014

St. Clement Danes is a nice church to visit on the Strand. It is a small Baroque style building with a long history and some interesting things to see both inside and outside the church building. St. Clement Danes church is also referred to as the Church of the Royal Air Force.

Unfortunately, St. Clement Danes is located on an island in the middle of the Strand, with regular road traffic on both sides. This makes visits to the outside of the church a bit noisy. However, the building is large enough that the noise doesn't seem to bother that much once you are inside.

The history of St. Clement Danes stretches back to the 9th century where tradition suggests that a church was built by Danes who had settled here. Some believe the Danes named the church after St. Clement, patron saint of mariners.

There is later reference to the church in William of Normandy's Doomsday book (1086) and it is possible that the church was rebuilt at some stage during his reign as well as again during the middle ages when St. Clement Danes was under the care of the Knights of Templar.

By the 17th century the church had fallen into disrepair. While it survived the Great Fire of 1666, it was demolished shortly after due to its poor condition and then rebuilt in the 1680s by Christopher Wren, who designed the new church in Baroque style. A steeple was added by James Gibbs in 1717, completing this beautiful church.

Unfortunately, the church sustained heavy bombing damage, gutting its interior in 1941. During the 1950s, the Royal Air Force raised funds and had the church restored. This is how you can see St. Clement Danes today.

Within the church, there is a nice wooden panel works behind the alter, a late 17th century organ in the back and attractive glass-stained windows throughout the nave. There is a downstairs crypt, which you can also visit if interested.

The exterior of the church is attractive and it is worth having a look at the statues which surround the building. These include the large Gladstone statue and RAF's past wartime leaders Arthur Harris and Hugh Dowding found in front of the St. Clement Danes. Behind the church, you can see a monument to Dr. Samuel Johnson, who attended services here during the 18th century.

Overall, we like St. Clement Danes Church. Its history is interesting, as are its interior and exterior designs and interesting statues and monuments found outside the church. It is definitely worth a stop if you enjoy church visits.

3  Thank BradJill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2014

Tucked into a small wedge where three streets meet this 9th century sits this modest on the outside, beautiful on the inside church. It is the Central Church of the Royal Air Force and a wonderful tribute to those who have protected Britain. Check out the beautiful altar and stained glass behind it.

2  Thank DeniseSF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 December 2013

I have passed this church many times on the bus but you really have to be walking to see it properly. Even so it is on an island in the traffic guarded by statues of Lord Dowding and bomber Harris. It seems to be frequently closed but if you are lucky enough to see the doors open - go in. There is no admission charge although donations are accepted. It is beautifully kept with wooded panels commemorating the Air Force heroes. There are many memorabilia of a personal nature in display cabinets as well as memorials to the various squadrons. I think that you would need to have a particular interest in the RAF to make a special journey but it makes any walk for Trafalgar Square to St Paul's Cathedral even more worth while.

1  Thank Bluebellplasnewydd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 November 2013

After visiting the Bomber Command memorial, which was an emotional experience for my 80 year old Dad, we caught the tube to St Clement Danes church. It is a peaceful, lasting memorial to the RAF personnel, and our visit was made more special by Philippe, who found the name we were looking for in the record book. He made copies of the page, and gave us information which we are very grateful for. All in all, a very reflective experience.

Thank Mrufus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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