St George's German Lutheran Church

St George's is the oldest surviving German Church in the British Isles, opened in 1762. 

German speakers - mostly religious refugees from the German speaking lands not yet united as modern Germany - ran most of the sugar refining industry in London and this was based in the area around Aldgate, where St Georges church is sited.

Today only the church and its former school adjacent are left to remind us of this huge refugee population in an area once called 'Little Germany'. The history of this part of London is one of successive waves of immigration: Huguenots, German speakers, Jews, Bangladeshis. Today the German episode in this story is far less known even though Aldgate and Whitechapel was home to the largest German speaking population outside the German lands for over a century.

What's on

Refugee correspondence

German refugee stories of the 1930s from St Georges archives.

Annual Christmas Concert

Hearty Christmas Music from the London West Gallery Quire.

There are two steps into the Church, a ramp is available for wheelchair access to ground floor. No lift to gallery and organ on first floor. Severely parking in neighbouring streets with restrictions, including Sundays, so public transport recommended.

You can download a short guide to St George's here.

Public Transport

St George's German Lutheran Church is 3 minutes from Aldgate East Underground and 5 minutes from Aldgate Underground Station.  Many bus routes pass nearby. Fenchurch Street and Liverpool Street rail stations (both 10 minutes walk)


In the Area

There are nearby places of worship connected with immigration to central and East London including Bevis Marks Synagogue the oldest surviving synagogue in the UK which open to visits at certain times, Sandys Row Synagogue which can arrange guided tours for groups and which occupies a building formerly a Huguenot chapel. East London Mosque is a short walk away. So too is Christ Church Spitalfields an internationally celebrated building by Nicholas Hawksmoor, built for the Church of England, partly in reaction to the nonconformism and religious dissent of East London.

55 Alie Street
E1 8EB
United Kingdom

St George's is open by arrangement for group and individual visits.  With notice we will try to provide a volunteer speaker to talk about the building. For open days and public events see here.


Would you like to visit or use this chapel for an event?

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 for much of the 19th century was  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.

You can download a short guide to St George's here.

The Church is a Grade II* listed building and was acquired by HCT in 1999. 

HCT tackled its long-standing disrepair and serious structural problems discretely, so that most people are surprised that nearly £1m of restoration work was carried out. Works were generously funded by Historic England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

HCT's custodianship of St Georges is informed by a Conservation Statement which can be downloaded here.

St George's is registered for religious marriages in the German Lutheran tradition and the service can be conducted in German or English at the couples choice. Registration for same sex religious marriages is in hand. To enquire about getting married at St Georges here.

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


Would you like to visit or use this chapel for an event?