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Sunday, 2 May 2021

St Martin-in-the-Fields: App and Exhibitions

If you are looking for things to do this Bank holiday weekend, then why not come into town and explore the parish – guided by our newly launched 'Beating the Bounds' app for St Martin-in-the-Fields.

Beating the bounds is an ancient custom, still observed in parts of the country, in which the clergy lead their parishioners on a walk around the boundary of their parish to instil in them the knowledge of its reach. St Martin’s has records from as early as the 1500s describing the annual beating the bounds procession here, led by the clergy, with the children of the parish in tow. The tradition died out in the twentieth century but with London now easing out of lockdown, beating the bounds of St Martin’s is a great way to re explore this most central and historic part of London. The app guides the walker on a tour of the parish boundary, stopping at key points to listen to some of the stories of the parish as well as some of the music inspired by this most central part of London.

The walk will take you about an hour and forty minutes, starting and finishing at St Martin’s. It leads you along the Embankment, through St James’s Park and Green Park, past Buckingham Palace and St James’s Palace as well as the site of the old Palace of Whitehall and guides you through areas as contrasting as Covent Garden and St James’s.

The app guides you back to St Martin’s, where you can pop into the foyer to see a new map of the parish, created by the artist Adam Dant to mark the 300th anniversary of James Gibb’s design for the current church building. Dant’s 'Novel Map of the Parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields' forms the centre piece of an exhibition of his drawings and original prints celebrating Central London with all its quirks and foibles.

The Courtyard Café will be open all weekend for refreshments as well as the shop, which will be stocking a new range of gifts created by Adam Dant using his 'Novel Map of St Martin-in-the-Fields'.

You can download the app from our website, or you can use the QR code in the foyer.

From 1 - 8 May, the Adam Dant Exhibition and Courtyard Café will be open everyday from 12 – 5 pm. Click here to visit our website. (After 8 May, please double check website for opening times)

Also in the Foyer is ‘With the Heart of a Child’ by Nicola Ravenscroft which sees seven life-size bronze children, one from every continent on Earth, simply dressed in soft silk tulle, hesitate in time, leaning forward, hopeful, poised to dive, eyes closed, dreaming into their future, anticipating things unseen.

Nicola Ravenscroft writes that, ‘As an artist, I am visionary, sculptor, mother to many, and grandmother to even more’, she breathes life into life taking ‘clay, dirt and stardust, shaped and twisted torn smoothed and broken lost, found and moulded wax and singing molten bronze through white-hot crucible-refining fire, Earth’s own core breathing life into revealing-truth, a giving-birth to energy.’

The result is this installation of eco-earthling-warrior-mudcubs – children intimately connected to the earth – reminding us of our duty of care to life, to love, to planet Earth.

Nicola has recently been commissioned to create a memorial to honour the bravery of front-line NHS and care workers in the fight against Covid. The project has the backing of Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock and members of the public are currently being asked to propose a fitting name for the memorial. Her work has consistently inspired musicians, including her husband saxophonist Raphael Ravenscroft (‘A little child shall lead them’) and, most recently, Tim Watts, assistant director of music at St. John’s College Cambridge, who is composing a piece in response to bas sculpture reliefs on paper titled ‘Among the Words of Trees’. Examples of work from each of these projects are included in this exhibition in addition to ‘With the Heart of a Child’.

The ‘fifth plinth’, in the Courtyard at St Martin’s, currently features an exhibition that has featured on the BBC News, Evening Standard, Metro, and in several publications internationally. 'Out of Home' is a project telling a story of what life was like for a group of people without a home, during the time we were all told to stay at home.

The photographs were taken by Carly, Darren Fairbrass, Craig, Joe Pengelly, Andre and Kelly, using disposable cameras.

Loose guidelines were agreed with each, to allow them creative control:
  • Try to take photographs in the day if possible, when there is light, but if not possible night is fine
  • Take photographs of things you find interesting, or would like to photograph
  • For each camera, you’ll be paid £20, with ideally a maximum of 1 camera per day, but flexible where it could help
  • Try to spend less than 1 hour 45 taking photos in any given day, meaning that the work was paid at London Living Wage
The photographers retain copyright of the images, and any book and print sale profits go to them, with a smaller percentage to St Martin-in-the-Fields. Over lockdown, the project resulted in thousands of photographs, showing the ‘capital of the world’, at a unique time in its life, and from the unique perspective of some of those who were out of home, during the time we were all told to stay at home.

The Out of Home exhibition is also running in memory of Kelly Francis, one of the photographers, who sadly died during the project. The exhibition is open each day in the Courtyard, with its own outdoor café. Outdoors, and free, to be as accessible as possible.

The exhibition is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Cultural Recovery Fund, St Martin-in-the-Fields and by Panos Pictures.

Further information on the exhibition is available on our website. Further information on the project, and its participants, including sales of books and limited edition prints, is available at:


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