If you wander around some of the churches in the City of London, you might spy a small pack of what looks like old cigarette cards — showing images of lost churches.

A sample of some of the cards

They have been left there by the Lost London Churches Project, which aims to promote interest in the ancient church buildings and parishes of the City of London through collectable cards, books, maps, and explorers’ walks.

In 1600 there were 110 churches in the square mile of the City of London. Many were lost in the Great Fire of 1666, more during the consolidation of the parishes in the 1860s, and many others during WWII.

Today, there are only 40 churches left within the ancient boundaries of the City of London.

The Lost London Churches Project researched the history of the churches that have vanished and not only produced maps and guidebooks – they started dropping cigarette cards in the surviving churches.

The cards are rather nicely produced, all in the same style with a simple coloured drawing of what the lost church would have looked like, and on the rear, some basic facts about it.

Like any collectable, you’re encouraged to collect them all and visit the locations of the lost churches to imagine what once stood there.

Accompanying the cards, there’s a large guidebook with a lot of details about the churches. Although the size of the book (as in height/width) means it’s not exactly pocket sized, it does mean that it’s a heck of a lot easier to read the maps when out wandering between each of the lost churches.

You can buy the book for £12.

The guidebook

If you want to get collecting today, I’d recommend the starter pack for £22, which you can buy here. It includes the book, some cards to start with, and a wallet to keep them in.

With the weather improving, it’s a fascinating way of spending your spare time wandering around the city, locating the lost churches and rediscovering all those nooks and side streets you might never otherwise have a reason to wander down.

A tip: Check the Friends of the City Churches website for the surviving churches’ open days if you want to pop inside and pick up some cards. Otherwise, you can buy them online in advance from here.

There’s also the whole package that comes with all the cards for £35, and that would make for a good present for people.

The whole package


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  1. Rob B says:

    Sounds like a great idea.

  2. Juno says:

    I like visiting the churches, and I like the work of the Friends (though in my experience, when they tell you St Peter Cornhill is open they’re *always* wrong). But framing this to appeal to people who collect cards doesn’t appeal to me at all.

  3. Reaper says:

    Been endeavouring to work our way through the entire Friends list for a couple of years. Now we are approaching the end of that list we can tuen our attention to the Lost ones.

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