St Paul’s church was built in 1878 and stands in the heart of the local community in Bow. It’s a minutes walk from the historic Roman Road street market, adjacent to a primary school with over 650 children on the school roll. We are surrounded by high density former Local Authority housing.

In 1991, the building was closed due to maintenance and safety concerns. The local people feared that it would share the fate of many churches in the East End and be demolished and turned into luxury flats.

The Parochial Church Council (PCC) of St Paul and St Mark Old Ford together with the local community were determined to see the church up and running once again as a place of worship and community life. So the St Paul’s ‘A New Heart for Bow’ project was born. Extensive consultation took place, partnerships were formed and a professional team was appointed, led by Matthew Lloyd Architects – whose practice is based at the aptly named ‘Perseverance Works’ in Shoreditch. Other consultants included Gardiner & Theobald, Ove Arup and Price & Myers.

£3.3 million was raised from over a dozen funders notably the National Lottery, The Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, The European Union and charitable trusts including the Church Urban Fund, the Bridge House Estates Trust, The Mercers Company, The Tudor Trust, the Henry Smith Charity and the Historic Churches Preservation Trust.

Balfour Beatty were appointed as main contractor and work commenced on site in March 2003 and completed in May 2004.

The result of the work is an architecturally stunning, fully refurbished building with four fully accessible new floors of facilities for the whole community.

Watch our St Paul’s Five Years On film