By Paul Crampton
Where thousands of people now enjoy a spot of shopping once stood a church.
Below is the symmetrical frontage of the Countess of Huntingdon Church – an offshoot of the Congregational Church – in Watling Street in 1910.
The view is dated 1910 at a time when the Rev Alex Snape was the minister.
Designed by W F Poulton and completed in 1853, the church stood on the north side of Watling Street, roughly where the entrance to the Whitefriars underground service area is today.
Sadly, it was gutted by incendiary bombs, during the infamous Baedeker Raid of June 1, 1942.
There must have been plans to repair the intact shell of the building, as it was not cleared away with most other blitz-damaged buildings, in the immediate aftermath of that main raid.
However, if any such plans did exist, they would have been forgotten after the daylight raid in October 1942, when the remains of the church were flattened by a high-explosive bomb.
In the late 1940s, a temporary pre-fabricated church was erected near the site.
This lasted for around six years before being replaced by a stylish brick-built church. This handsome building can be seen in the second photo, which was taken in the mid 1990s.
This new church was also destined to have a relatively short life, demolished at the end of the 1990s to make way for the latest version of the Whitefriars shopping scheme.