The dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral has long added a dramatic grandeur to the London Skyline. The first cathedral dedicated to Saint Paul dates from the 7th century and was originally a wooden Saxon structure. It burned down in 675 AD and its replacement was sacked by Vikings, later being rebuilt in stone under the Normans and finished in 1240.
By the 16th century it was beginning to suffer from lack of care, and was subject to considerable vandalism as a result of the “reforms” of Henry VIII and Edward VI.
The final blow came in the Great Fire of London after which it was rebuilt in its current form by Christopher Wren as part of a huge commission to rebuild over 50 churches destroyed in the conflagration. The final design was approved in 1675 and the building completed in 1708.
Built of Portland stone in late Renaissance/Baroque style its imposing dome rises to 365 feet to the crowning cross. The nave of the cathedral contains three chapels in the side aisles and the massive dome has a gallery around the inside; the famous Whispering Gallery, so called because the perfect acoustics of the dome transmit sound around the gallery to the far side of the dome.
The great organ was commissioned in 1694 and the cabinet work is by Grinling Gibbons.
St. Paul’s crypt has over 200 memorials to some of Britain’s greatest and best loved including of Course Christopher Wren and has seen the funerals of many more such as Winston Churchill and Nelson.
Open to the public there is an entrance fee, but it is also a functioning church so access may be restricted at some times. A true piece of British heritage, if you are anywhere near don’t miss out on its magnificence.
Stay at the Regency House Hotel and visit St. Paul’s Cathedral.