Sunday 27 August 2023

Sunday In Paddington

Paddington Basin

The GoBoats team were tidying up their hire craft in readiness for the imminent arrival of the first clients. They were almost all booked out for every part of the day, well into the evening.

The Rolling Bridge, opposite our mooring looked strangely quiet, but it is 'early' morning on a Sunday in a Bank Holiday! It has this name because it has a mechanism to rollup the sections to allow access in to the tiny basin beyond (why?) We have once seen it being routinely tested but not this time.

We had decided to go to St John's Hyde Park church for the morning service. About 15 minutes walk away. On the way we noticed this ornate lamp post.

The parish covers not only the Merchant Square development but also a more diverse area known as Hyde Park Estate. Although Wikipedia describes it as an affluent area with a number of embassies, it also includes high density blocks of flats in amongst Victorian villas. The flats were built on land that was badly damaged by wartime air raids.

The area was originally owned by the Bishop of London but now transferred to the Church Commissioners who continued to own and manage it. In the early 19C it was developed as demand for housing in London grew rapidly. The church was opened in 1832 and since then there have been various othe churches in the area which no longer exist. St John's is now the parish church. It was intended to have a capacity for a congregation of 2200, with 700 free pews and the rest rented.

In the aftermath or the Second World War, the trend was for people to move out of the city centre to the suburbs and the church and parish fell on hard times. The building became neglected but in the 1960s was properly renovated and more recently its facilities were brought up to date once again.

It has a strong musical tradition, today employing eight choral scholars although this week they were still on their annual summer holidays but will return next Sunday. This emphasis on music was still evident in today's liturgy albeit led by a single tenor cantor and the organist.

The sermon by the vicar was quite a strident look at the implications for leadership in a modern, often secularised, society. He drew messages from the epistle reading that would make uncomfortable listening for many today in institutional leadership roles.

Afterwards we walked back to the boat and enjoyed a very lazy afternoon, before having our conventional roast dinner.

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