Why Is There A Bedouin Tent In Bishopsgate?

By Zoe Craig Last edited 11 months ago
Why Is There A Bedouin Tent In Bishopsgate?
The Bedouin Tent, St Ethelburga's Centre. Photo by Greg McCormick.

If you've ever thought 'this city's great an' all, but what it's really missing is a proper bedouin tent...' you've not been looking hard enough.

Pop down to St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace in Bishopsgate in the City of London, and you'll find there's a woven goat hair tent in the grounds.

Simply called The Tent, the structure was made in Saudi Arabia, and given to St Ethelburga's by the Coexist foundation.

It sits in the courtyard behind St Ethelburga's, surrounded by a Lebanese fountain, bedouin-style lamps and an olive tree.

St Ethelburga's, Bishopsgate. Photo by Simon.

Why's it there? Well, it's an extension of St Ethelburga's vision for 'peace as a way of life peace as a dynamic way of life where people collaborate across differences and divisions to solve the challenges of our times.'

It's a place for chatting, listening, hearing, learning and just simply 'being'.  

At first glance, The Tent looks circular. But there's more to its structure than initially meets the eye.

Inside The Tent.

Designed by Professor Keith Critchlow — an expert in 'sacred geometry' — the tent actually has 16 sides.

Instead of using symbols of any specific religions, Critchlow used the universal languages of geometry, algebra and astronomy to make the structure.

The resulting space, which seats roughly 25 people around the edge, is gorgeously proportioned.

Look out for the word peace, written in seven different languages, on the doors.

If you're planning a visit anytime soon, we suggest wearing your best socks: it's 'shoes-off' at the door.

Read more about St Ethelburga's unique history here.

Last Updated 13 December 2016