Our Ward Church is the Guild Church of St Katharine Cree, situated in Leadenhall Street. The Parish was formed in 1473 and the Church is named after the same St Katharine whose name is also given to the “Catherine Wheel” which is such a popular firework on bonfire night.
There are a number of old festivals and traditions associated with the Ward. St Katharine Cree is the focus of the mediaeval ceremony of “Beating of the Bounds” which has been revived in recent years. One of the Club’s annual October events is the preaching of the “Lion Sermon” which commemorates the “escape” of Sir John Gayre, Lord Mayor and Fishmonger, from an encounter with a lion in 1646 whilst travelling.
Today the Ward is home to one of the most important financial centres in the world and to London’s long-established maritime industry, including the historic Baltic Exchange and Lloyd’s Register. The Baltic Exchange’s old building in St Mary Axe was destroyed by an IRA bomb on 10 April 1992 (when 3 people died) and has been replaced by the Swiss Re “gherkin”, now one of London’s most striking and well-known landmarks. The Baltic is now next door to its former site at number 38 St Mary Axe.
The Ward Club traces its history back over three centuries. It started as the Aldgate Ward Ratepayers Association and was established to represent residents and businesses with Parliament and the Metropolitan Board of Works.