Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Marketors Visit to Lambeth Palace Tuesday 1st October

Being long involved in the Church of England, Lambeth Palace is no stranger to me.  It plays a critical symbolic role in the church as the London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury and every ten years we hold the Lambeth Conference - no longer held at Lambeth but retaining the name.

Its position on the South Bank of the river, opposite Parliament, is itself symbolic.  Built well before Westminster or Lambeth Bridges, it was accessed by water and old pictures show it lying directly alongside the Thames which was then rather wider than now.    It is an odd mixture of buildings all built at different times and in different styles, but together makes up a fascinating place architectually to visit.

The corridors and rooms befittingly are large but modest in their furnishing. Whilst a Palace, it is not built so much as to impress but to stand as the geographical and management centre of the Church of England and to an extent, also the spiritual home of the Anglican Communion.   Portraits of successive Archbishops line the walls, including a new one of Rowan Williams I had not seen before.  We visited two chapels, one sitting directly above another where those based at Lambeth come for daily services.

Unfortunately, the Palace is currently partly covered externally in scaffolding as its stonework undergoes restoration.  Our guide Kate was most informative and the Marketors were most appreciative of the chance to see inside this fascinating and iconic building.

Marketors at the start of our tour of Lambeth Palace

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