Print this trail

Introduction

This is a Religious Education trail around the City of London where all the sites share something special. They all have connections with fire, flames and light. 

However, this trail is not just about the destruction that fire can bring, but also about rebuilding, renewal and spirit. The Great Fire of London in 1666 led to the creation of Sir Christopher Wren’s churches. There were many acts of bravery from the fire brigade, nurses, doctors and ordinary people during the wartime Blitz of London. Throughout the history of the City of London the inner light of humanity shone within some remarkable people. Their actions continue to inspire others. 

The route offers a choice of fascinating places to visit, depending on the time you have, but all are linked together by the shared theme. There are reflections which help focus on the spirituality of each visiting point and which can be differentiated for different age ranges. Suggestions for classroom creative activities are made to help bring out the experience of the day.

About Christopher Wren

Christopher Wren was born on 20 October 1632 in East Knoyle, Wiltshire. His father was a rector and he later became Dean of Windsor. He went to Westminster School and studied Maths and Physics at Oxford. Wren enjoyed inventions, including making a machine for writing in the dark. He devised a new language for the deaf. He later became a Professor of Astronomy. He became interested in architecture after visits to France and Rome. After the Great Fire of London, King Charles ll asked him to take the job of rebuilding London. This involved designing over fifty churches. Wren died on 25 February 1723. His gravestone in St Paul's Cathedral features the Latin inscription which translates as 'If you seek his memorial, look about you.'

Why do this trail?

This trail includes a range of places to visit in the City of London which explore spirituality through the themes of flames, fire and light. Some of Sir Christopher Wren’s beautiful city churches are included, but the wider realm of religion and human experience is also shown by the poignancy of Postman’s Park, some moving memorials to those who died in the Blitz, and by Jesus’ words on the glass walls of the Salvation Army’s international headquarters.

Challenging questions, focusing on the deep ideas of rebuilding, renewal and spirit, are suggested for each point to encourage reflection. Creative classroom activities are given to develop the experiences of the day further.

Themes to explore:

  • What can be destroyed and what can be rebuilt?
  • Can you find inner peace in a busy place?
  • What does it mean to be selfless?
  • Why should we remember difficult times, if they are so painful?
  • What journeys have changed our lives?
  • Why do people sometimes look away and why do some people choose to act?

Images on these pages are ©Anne Krisman unless otherwise indicated. They may be used in an educational setting but not otherwise without permission of the author.

Trail Points

St Nicholas Cole Abbey

The Salvation Army International Headquarters

National Firefighters Memorial

John Wesley Statue

Londoners killed in the Blitz memorial

Christchurch Greyfriars Garden

St Bartholomew the Less

Smithfield Martyrs’ memorial

Postman’s Park

The Aldersgate Flame (John Wesley's conversion place memorial)

St Mary-le-Bow

St Stephen Walbrook

Monument