Walking past the Barbican, towards the City, I came across a plaque. I enjoy these official, and often semi-official, markers of London’s past.
The probable site, where, on May 24, 1738 John Wesley “felt his heart strangely warmed,” this experience of grace was the beginning of Methodism.
I looked around me, took in the reasonably faceless office buildings around me, along with the curves of the Museum of London. I then looked over the wall that housed the plaque and caught a glimpse of the Ironmongers’ Hall.
The hall is the home of the Ironmongers’ Company, one of the Great Twelve Livery Companies of the City of London. The building looks Tudor, suggesting Wesley may have passed it on that day, but it turns out it was in fact built in the 1920s, replacing a Hall in another part of the City that was destroyed by bombing in the First World War. The new Hall survived a bombardment of its own, with heavy bombing in December 1940 destroying every building around it.
I’m not sure how successfully I was heading towards grace myself, but with the cold blue sky, the clear low sun and the layers of London’s past before me I did feel strangely warmed in some way myself.