The Royal Foundation of St Katharine has been a retreat and conference centre for many years. We welcome hundreds of local charities, government departments, businesses, faith groups each year to use our space for deep and meaningful reflection, discussion, rest and relaxation. We offer good value comfortable rooms without the distraction of television, including our refurbished reflective wing, set aside for personal retreat and reflection.
As we’ve opened St Katharine’s Precinct, we’ve had many people in the local area not connected to groups using our spaces who have been curious about what lies behind our walls. As part of this new phase of our work and presence in the community, we would like to open our doors further. We invite you to join one of our tours of St Katharine’s, exploring both our buildings and our long history.
Founded by Queen Matilda in 1147, the Royal Foundation of St Katharine has served as a centre for worship, hospitality and service over many centuries.
Originally known as St Katharine’s By The Tower, it served as a medieval church, hospital and centre of St Katharine’s precinct, a liberty housing over two thousand people along with its own courts, factories, breweries and prisons. In 1825 the battle to preserve St Katharine’s By the Tower was lost, the land excavated and flooded to form St Katharine’s Docks. The institution survived a move to Regent’s Park, but it was not until after WWII that it finally moved back to its spiritual home in the East End, occupying the site of the parish church of St James Ratcliff in 1948, after the original church’s destruction in the blitz.
This is where we now stand, ready to welcome you.
The tour will cover some of St Katharine’s rich history, while guiding you through the listed Georgian mansion and its beautiful murals that once served as mansion and vicarage, the lovely chapel with its medieval carvings in wood and stone saved from the destruction of St Katharine’s by the Tower, and the courtyard and conference rooms.
Three 45-minute tours will be available on 7 December, 2015 at 10:30, 14:00 and 18:30. Although it is a free event, we ask that you book a place below to ensure no tour becomes overcrowded.