St Paul’s Cathedral

Tomorrow the cameras are going to be trained on London for Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, and one building in particular will be in the limelight; St Paul’s, London’s cathedral, known especially for its iconic dome.
I suspect attention will be more on those in the congregation than the building, but maybe some of those watching will come to London later this year, and if so, I hope as well as admiring the great mass of the building, they will take the time to look at some of the details.

Cherubs are a feature of Wren’s churches. You notice them once, and then you’ll see them everywhere. The dome is such an potent sight in London. During the Second World War, St Paul’s became a symbol of the capital’s survival. Recognising this, Winston Churchill famously said that at all costs, St Paul’s must be saved. It was, thanks to the St Paul’s Watch. You can see their memorial just inside the west doors; a group of postmen, office workers, cathedral employees, clergy and at least two poets who patrolled the building day and night, quenching fires, sleeping in the crypt with the rescued monuments. One of those monuments was to John Donne, former Dean of the cathedral. His monument has scorch marks on it from the Great Fire of London that destroyed the previous cathedral in 1666. The phoenix on the south transept represents London rising again from the ashes.
There is no monument to Christopher Wren inside the cathderal. Instead, in the crypt, you will find, by Wren’s tomb, the words Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice – Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you. Heed this advice next time you are at St Paul’s, because it is so much more than a dome. And it will most certainly feature on C the City when it has its premier in October.

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4 thoughts on “St Paul’s Cathedral

  1. Putti vs Cherubs? Cage match perhaps? Just when does a Putto become a Cherub? And just how much was happening on the streets today?

    • I feel quite unqualified to answer the putti/cherub question having thought cherubs were on religious buildings, but then where does that leave putti?
      Lots of people out and about today, including me. I got very wet in a hailstorm this afternoon!
      It has been a tough week your side of the pond. How are you doing?

      • I read that a putto might ascend to be a cherubim, but my general impression is that Putti belong in Italy and Cherubs live north of the olive line.

        The cute kissy face, however, transcends all borders.

        Over here, we blow things up so often here that I can hardly keep track – from horrific Marathon blasts to tragic fertilizer plants in Texas.

        “Bomb evacuations” were a standard of my college days. As were, I suppose,. yours – the difference being our equivalent to the IRA was a collection of protesters without a unified cause.

        Isn’t “climate change” just a wonder? As evidence, we are unseasonably thinking we might be on your side of the pond in Sept/Oct. What have you got on offer?

      • You sound very weary. I hope there are no more explosions or shootings.
        In October I have my new C the City walk’s first outing. I’ll have a look and see if Open House is happening this year. It is the third weekend in September and a great opportunity to see behind the scenes. Otherwise I shall be in parliament, doing the usual walks and maybe planning another one.

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