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|Welcome to St. John's Tower! We hope you
enjoy our short virtual tour.
We are just a few minutes walk down Church Lane from Leytonstone Underground Station (Central Line) and a few hundred yards down Leytonstone High Road from the Green Man Roundabout. You can normally park in the church car park in the front of the churchyard.
You approach the tower from the church car park by climbing the steps to the front door of the church, at the base of the tower. If the door is locked on practice nights just rattle the door loudly and someone will come down to greet you.
Just inside the porch, in the right-hand corner, is a door opening onto the spiral staircase ...
|An old bell rope serves as a bannister.
Don't worry if you are not very fit. The stairs are in
reasonable condition and it isn't very far up to the
belfry, or ringing chamber. There is also a curious
mirror placed on the stairs. I've no idea why it's there.
Somebody had left some old tat on the bottom step when I was photographing for this page. I didn't notice until too late - but managed to air-brush it out ...
|The belfry, or ringing chamber, is a comfortable room
just over the porch. This picture on the left shows the
view from the staircase through the doorway. The door in
the background leads out onto the gallery at the back of
the church. It is mainly used for storage now - including
our collection of hard hats. We may ask you to wear one
if you want to venture further up the tower.
|If you would like to know how English church bells
work, some kind soul may show you the principle on our
working model. It isn't quite as elaborate as in the
illustration on the right, but it is a very effective
If you are feeling energetic we will take you up, past the clock chamber, to the bell chamber and up to the battlements.
The postcard above shows how our treble and no. 2 looked when they left the manufacturers back in the 1930s.
|The picture on the right shows the view
of the bells from the doorway.
OK - So they didn't always look as dirty as they do now! But they still make a lovely sound.
They are quite nice to ring too.
|If you carry on up the staircase for a few more revolutions you reach the top of the tower. Hold on tight to the parapet if, like me, you suffer from vertigo. But do admire the view before you descend. We'll point out sights visible from the top. There are views of our local bit of Epping Forest and you should be able to see Canary Wharf and the Millennium Dome.|
|On a fine day it is possible to see the
dome of St Paul's cathedral on the far horizon. In this
photo it is just visible - to the left of the skyscraper
which is itself to the left of the three skyscrapers.
St John's and St Paul's are aligned on the solsticial line. From here the midwinter sun sets behind St. Paul's - and, seen from St Paul's, the sun rises behind St John's on St John's Day - Old Midsummer Day!!
Please mind your head on the way down again - you are more likely to bang it on the low ceilings going down than coming up.
We hope you enjoyed this short virtual tour of our tower and that you will come on a real visit some time.
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This page last updated 2/2/1999.