One of the buildings I regularly walk past near our studio is St John’s Gate in the centre of Clerkenwell. I have never known much about it but have been watching as it has slowly been renovated thanks to people like me who pick losing lottery numbers on a regular basis. On the way home from work yesterday afternoon I wandered inside for a look.
To cut a long, yet fascinating, story short, the Knights of St John were an order that set up hospitals in Jerusalem to take care of injured pilgrims (whatever their faith) during the crusades of the 11th century. They eventually set up in Clerkenwell when war forced them out of the Holy Land in 1140. They had one of the richest monasteries in England here until Henry VIII forced the order to dissolve 400 years later. Now of course the order has become the St John’s Ambulance, so obviously ‘stuff has happened’ since 1540…
To read Kieren Long’s excellent article about the renovation for the Evening Standard click here.
The history of this area is unbelievably rich and, as dorky as it sounds, I am really thinking to go on one of the guided Clerkenwell tours to learn more about the area of London in which we work. I really have no idea of the significance of some of the things I barely notice as I hurry to the office.