St George's German Lutheran Church

London | Listed Grade II*

History and Architecture

St George's dates from 1762–3 and is now the oldest German church in Britain. It served as a religious centre for generations of German immigrants who worked in the East End sugar refineries and in the meat and baking trades right up until the First World War. The area around Aldgate was known as 'Little Germany' and was for much of the 19th century the largest concentration of German-speaking people outside the German homelands.

Inside, the church retains a remarkable furnishings, including a complete set of box pews and a fine, central double-decker pulpit. At the ‘east end’ hangs the coat-of-arms of King George III (pre-1801) and two carved timber commandment boards in German. The Royal Arms, adopted by the congregations as a mark of loyalty, recall a connection with the Duchess of Kent, mother of Queen Victoria, who was patron of the adjacent German and English schools from 1819. There are 18th and l9th-century memorials, many in German and a fine German Walcker organ.

During the Nazi period in Germany St George's pastor, Julius Rieger, set up a relief centre for Jewish refugees from Germany who were provided with references to travel to England. The leading theologian and anti-Nazi activist Dietrich Bonhoeffer was also associated with the work of St George’s when Bonhoeffer was pastor at the nearby St Paul’s church from 1933 to 1935. The former congregation marked the centenary of Bonhoeffer’s birth with a special service in 2006.

Marriages

St George's is registered for marriages and the service can be conducted in German, English or in Latin - at the couples choice. Registration for same sex religious marriages is in hand. To enquire about getting married at St Georges please contact lena@hct.org.uk

Family History Research

Family history records of the congregation have been deposited for conservation and safe-keeping at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives, 277 Bancroft Rd, London E1 4DQ tel (0207) 364 1290 or go to

http://www.ideastore.co.uk/en/articles/local_history

We regret that HCT is unable to assist with family history research.

Further Information

A brief guide to the church can be downloaded here.

St George’s local committee organises concerts and other events during the year.

A 16-page, well illustrated, colour guidebook is available for £5 (including p and p) from the office. Cheques should be made payable to HCT.

 

Repair and Regeneration

Major structural repairs and restoration costing nearly £860,000 were completed in 2004, including the restoration of the organ.

The restored building was officially re-opened by HRH The Duke of Gloucester on 24 September 2004.

Future Use

To hire the church for an event please contact our Business Development Manager Lena Scott lena@hct.org.uk

Supporting St George's German Lutheran Church

We acknowledge financial support given by Exxonmobil and the St Paul's German Evangelical Reformed Church Trust towards the costs of 2013 repairs to St George's.

If you would like to make a donation to the upkeep of the oldest German church in Britain or would consider leaving  a bequest in your for St Georges please contact us in confidence. St Georges has no endowment and to hand it on to future generations we rely on the gifts of those who care for it.

St George's Mug

A handsome mug is available, cost £5.00 from the church plus postage - please phone to place an order.