Building of the Week
St Luke's was built between 1811 and 1831 by John Foster and his son John Foster Junior.
The church functioned as a jewel in the crown, in the city centre, costing over £44,000 to build.
Known as the doctors church, due both to its close proximity to Rodney Street (a street used predominantly by medical professionals) and the fact that St Luke is the patron saint of Doctors and artists. The church was fire bombed in the early hours of 6th May 1941 by the Germans in World War 2.
The church burnt and smouldered for 5 days, one of the firemen on duty that night Bill Tranter described it as a "pagoda of flame" he said that it was one of the most beautiful fires that he had ever seen. Unfortunately the water main had been bombed that same evening and there was nothing to extinguish the flames, so they had to move onto the next fire at Lewis department store.
The church remained largely unused until 2007 when community music group Urban Strawberry Lunch became the artists in residence, bringing the space back to life through the arts and culture. Urban Strawberry Lunch split up in 2014 but the Artistic Director Ambrose Reynolds continues to keep the space open (with the help of an army of fellow volunteers) every afternoon (except Mondays and Tuesdays). The space hosts regular health & wellbeing classes; Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Meditation as well as being a tourist visitor attraction and occasional venue. It is a place where everyone is welcome, where people are encouraged to be creative, a place to commemorate the past and celebrate the future.