The Inner City Centre has been a pioneer in the provision of accessible and affordable psychotherapy in the community since 1981.
It was founded by a psychoanalyst, Gillian Parker, and a small group of therapists trained at the Lincoln Centre (now part of the new organisation The British Psychotherapy Foundation, formed in 2013). It offered low fee therapy to those who for financial or other reasons would not consider it available to them.
Based in the City and East London, and responsive to emerging social problems, the ICC was in the forefront of offering therapy to patients suffering from Aids as well as support groups for the professionals caring for them. It was one of the first psychotherapy organisations to pioneer the placing of therapists in GP surgeries and to recognise the extent of the effects of childhood sexual abuse.
As it has become increasingly well-known over the years, the ICC has expanded, to become a more diverse group of therapists, offering a comprehensive service across London, to all sections of the community, with a range of fees appropriate to the circumstances of the individual applicant.
The Tower of All Hallows Staining has been one of our City bases from the very first days of the Inner City Centre, thanks to the permission and generosity of the Clothworkers’ Company. It offers a rare quietness, an oasis in the middle of the bustling City and continues to provide a tranquil and unusual setting for our work.
The church of All Hallows Staining is believed to be one of the first built in the City of London, in 1320. It was named “Staining”, which means stone, to distinguish it from the other churches of All Hallows in the City of London, which were wooden.
In the 16th century, Princess Elizabeth, later Elizabeth I, donated new bell ropes to the church, as she said that the church bells had been music to her ears during her imprisonment at the nearby Tower of London. One of those famous bells, dated to 1458, is preserved at Grocers Hall, London.
The old church survived the Great Fire of London in 1666 but collapsed five years later in 1671, due perhaps to weakening of the foundations from the high number of burials at the church. A new church was built in 1674, but it was dismantled in 1870, leaving only the tower.
This tower, a severe example of Perpendicular Gothic style, was sold to the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers, one of the ‘Great Twelve’ ancient livery companies of the City of London, on condition that they maintain the site in perpetuity. Originally founded to promote the craft of cloth-finishing, the Company now exists to promote charitable work and fellowship amongst its members.
In 1957 the Clothworkers’ Company built a church hall for St Olave Hart Street on the site of All Hallows Staining. The old tower still stands, at the back of a small courtyard next to the new hall.