The present ministry of St Katharine Cree dates back to the early 1950s when by Act of Parliament it was one of a number of the City churches to be designated and established as a Guild Church, with the primary purpose "to serve and minister to the non-resident day-time population of the City".
St Katharine Cree Church was first built here in 1280, although the present building has graced the corner of Creechurch Lane and Leadenhall Street in the eastern area of the City of London since 1630. The designer of the present church is unknown, but is reckoned to be Inigo Jones.
The church is Grade I listed, having survived the Great Fire of 1666, the Second World War (with some damage to the roof) and the Baltic Exchange bomb of 1992, which blew out the central part of the 17th-century east window.
In 1873 it subsumed the nearby church of St James, Duke's Place, which was demolished. It is the Ward Church of the Aldgate Ward, the shipping and insurance Ward of the City.
Organ & Bells
The organ was built in 1686 by 'Father Smith' at a cost of £250. It was rebuilt by Henry Willis at the beginning of the 19th century. At least three of the present stops have the original Father Smith pipes. It was subsequently enlarged and played by Purcell, Wesley, Handel and others. The 17th century finely carved casing may be by Grindling Gibbons.
Bells have been heard from the tower of St Katharine Cree since at least the 16th century. The church survived both the Great Fire of London and the Blitz. The tower is the oldest part of the building, the lower stages of which date from 1504. Work undertaken to restore the bells in 2009 included removal of the bells to Whitechapel Bell Foundry; cleaning and careful tuning of the bells to form a true diatonic scale; carefully extracting the rusting iron crown staples, new fittings; a new iron and steel frame and a variable sound control ceiling over the installation period.