Unseen Hawksmoor drawing discovered in the Heart of Greenwich

Hawksmoor sketch of St Alfege Church
Unseen Hawksmoor sketch
A previously unseen original drawing by Nicholas Hawksmoor has been discovered at Greenwich Heritage Centre during a National Lottery funded research project at St Alfege Church.

St Alfege Church is a Grade I listed landmark church in London, the first church built under the Fifty New Churches Act of 1711 and the first complete church project undertaken by Nicholas Hawksmoor, pupil of Sir Christopher Wren and one of England’s most original and significant architects. The present building was constructed between 1712 and 1718, and is one of the key buildings within the Greenwich World Heritage Site. 

This discovery was made by Richard Hill, of Richard Griffiths Architects, who is working for St Alfege Church as a conservation architect for the ‘Heart of Greenwich - Place and People’ project. During a visit to the Royal Greenwich Heritage Centre in February he found the uncatalogued drawing in a box of miscellaneous prints, photos and press cuttings of Greenwich.

[quote=Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London]"I’m delighted that money raised by National Lottery players has helped to uncover this never-seen-before drawing"[/quote]

Commenting on the discovery Vicar Chris Moody said: “We’re delighted with this find which is helping us in the development of our designs for works which both reveal and conserve Hawksmoor’s masterpiece while ensuring accessibility and better integration with the town centre.”

Greenwich Heritage Centre, part of Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust, is home to the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s museum and archive collections. The drawing, which shows the north elevation of St Alfege Church, is an original ink and wash drawing by Nicholas Hawksmoor himself. A trace of the plan of the building can also be seen, probably pricked through from another drawing.

Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London, said: “What a fantastic find! To have a Hawksmoor design and the building it inspired together for the first time - I’m delighted that money raised by National Lottery players has helped to uncover this never-seen-before drawing by one of England’s most renowned architects. It’s a brilliant start to the ‘Heart of Greenwich’ project, which will see Hawksmoor’s building restored and the heritage of this well-loved church brought to a wider audience.”