Limehouse is home to the historical landmark building known as the Foundation of St. Katherine’s Chapel and is just a step away from the hustle and bustle of Central London.
The name Limehouse originates from the lime kilns that once populated this area and which were used by potteries and other manufacturers to fill the cargo holds of ships berthed in the East End docks. However, some believe that the name Limehouse actually comes from the sailors who disembarked from their ships here. These sailors were commonly referred to as Limeys and Lime Juicers, and so lent their nicknames to the area.
A famous landmark in Limehouse, and one of huge historical significance, is the Royal Foundation of St. Katherine’s Chapel. The Foundation of St. Katherine’s was created in 1147 by Queen Matilda, the wife of King Stephen, as a Christian organisation with a clear focus on worship, hospitality and service.
The chapel was located outside the walls of the Tower of London for 678 years until the construction of St. Katherine’s Docks forced its relocation in 1825. The chapel then moved to Regent’s Park for the next 123 years, before moving to its final resting place in 1948, following a bombing raid during World War II. It became a ‘royal peculiar’ in the thirteenth century when it was officially recognised by Queen Eleanor.
The chapel currently operates as a retreat centre, opening to the public in 2011. Pictured here is the exterior of the Royal Foundation of St. Katherine’s Chapel.