London: Churches: St Nicholas Cole Abbey

Posted: March 3, 2016 in London, UK



The Church of St Nicholas Cole Abbey stands on the site of an original 12th centre church which was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. It was the first church rebuilt after the fire under the supervision of Sir Christopher Wren. It has seen many High and Low points over its existence. It is recorded that in May 1881 the congregation was down to two people, but 10 years later was recorded to have one of the largest Sunday congregations in the city (around 450).

St Nicholas Cole Abbey 1941 from

St Nicholas Cole Abbey 1941

It was badly damaged during an air raid on 10th May 1941 and lay derelict until rebuilt in the early 1960s. It became part of the parish of nearby St Andrews by the Wardrobe and was used as the diocesan headquarters of the council for mission. Between 1982 and 2003 it was used by the Free Church of Scotland and in 2014 became a centre for workplace ministry.

The unusual name is thought to be a corruption of the word ‘coldharbour’ – a shelter for travellers.

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