150 years ago, the Bow area of East London was  built up after centuries of being no more than common grazing land (hence the name  Bow Common). The coming of the railway lines, and the two canals nearby, guaranteed the growth of a working population clustered near to vital transport links. 

To serve this growing population a grand and lofty Victorian Gothic church was built in 1858, with a great spire and a huge stained glass window at the west end. This first St. Paul’s, Bow Common became a real focus for the neighbouring community.

Then disaster struck during the Blitz of World War II and in 1941 incendiaries gutted the church, reducing it to a shell. But thanks to War Reparation funds, a new church could be built.