Walking Swedenborg’s London screening

Screening of John Rogers film Walking Swedenborg's London at Swedenborg Hall, Bloomsbury 7th September 2023

Back on 7th September saw a wonderful event at Swedenborg Hall in Bloomsbury with a screening + Q&A of my film, Walking the visionary London of Emanuel Swedenborg. Back on a freezing January morning, with Iain Sinclair and Stephen McNeilly we retraced the footsteps of the hugely influential 18th Century scientist, philosopher, mystic and theologian. London played a huge role in the Swedenborg story, with Swedenborg Hall in Bloomsbury continuing his legacy.

Our walk started in Warner Street, Clerkenwell where Swedenborg had his most famous vision in a Chop House. We then walked on along the course of the River Fleet to Bakers Yard / Cold Bath Square where Swedenborg died in 1772. From here we continued along Saffron Hill and Hatton Garden to Fetter Lane, the site of the Moravian Chapel that Swedenborg attended. Our Swedenborg walk took us along Fleet Street and up Ludgate Hill to Paternoster Square linking together a series of locations associated with Swedenborg’s publishing and writing career.
We then headed out to East London, passing along Leman Street, Cable Street, past Wilton’s Music Hall to Swedenborg Gardens where Swedenborg was buried in the Swedish Church, and the whole story of Swedenborg’s head, which deserves a book in its own right.

Iain Sinclair, Stephen McNeilly and John Rogers at Swedenborg Hall 7th September 2023

Watching the icy clouds of breath in the film offered some faint relief from the sweltering temperatures in the hall. The discussion was illuminating as ever with Iain Sinclair and Stephen McNeilly. The bust of Swedenborg ever present looming over our shoulders, and I was tickled to discover that it was modelled on the wrong mummified head.

Iain Sinclair, Stephen McNeilly and John Rogers at Swedenborg Hall 7th September 2023

Plaque unveiling in Swedenborg Gardens

Swedenborg Gardens plaque unveiling
Photo by Mark Riley

The other Saturday saw the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the association of Swedish philosopher, theologian, scientist and mystic, Emanuel Swedenborg and Prince’s Square, Shadwell. Swedenborg Gardens now marks the area where the Swedish Church once stood and where Emanuel Swedenborg was originally buried.

Swedenborg Gardens plaque unveiling
Iain Sinclair at the unveiling of the plaque in Swedenborg Gardens
Iain Sinclair
Iain Sinclair and John Rogers at Swedenborg Gardens

Stephen McNeilly from Swedenborg House and a Tower Hamlets Councillor unveiled the plaque, the Iain Sinclair spoke eloquently about the legacy of Emanuel Swedenborg’s relationship with London and the lasting imprint he left behind. I then spoke briefly about the recent video I made with Iain and Stephen tracing the footprints of Swedenborg’s London.

Swedenborg Gardens
Emanuel Swedenborg plaque, Swedenborg Gardens