St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral on Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London, and is the seat of the Bishop of London. The present building dates from the 17th century and was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. It is generally reckoned to be London's fifth St Paul's Cathedral, all having been built on the same site since 604 A.D. The cathedral is one of London's most famous and most recognisable sights. At 365 feet (111m) high, it was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1962, and its dome is also among the highest in the world, St Peter's Basilica in Rome being higher. The Monument to the Great Fire of London, also designed by Wren and the tallest doric column in the world, would fit inside the cathedral's interior. St Paul's Cathedral Today St Paul's Cathedral today is a busy working church. At the heart of life at St Paul's is the daily pattern of prayer and worship. Every day begins and ends with prayer. During hourly prayers visitors are invited to join in the Lord’s Prayer, in their own language, as they pause and pray. Music is integral to the worshipping and educational life of the Cathedral. The Cathedral Choir, made up of Choristers and Vicars Choral, usually sing Evensong and the Sunday Sung Eucharist. Whilst the Cathedral charges for those who wish to sightsee, it does not charge for people who want to worship. Daily services are held every day to which all are welcome to attend and those attending services do so at no cost. People seeking a place to be quiet and pray are admitted to the St Dunstan's Chapel free of charge. Admission on Sundays for all services is free and there is no sightseeing. Since the first service was held here in 1697, Wren's masterpiece has been where people and events of overwhelming importance to the country have been celebrated, mourned and commemorated.Important services have included the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill; Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria; peace services marking the end of the First and Second World Wars; the launch of the Festival of Britain and the thanksgiving services for both the Golden Jubilee and 80th Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen. More recently, In 2001, Britain's memorial service to honour the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks was held at the cathedral, attended by the Royal Family and then-U.S. ambassador William Farish. Prince Philip spoke, as did Farish, and Farish said in 2004 in The Times just before he resigned as ambassador that this service showed the strong relationship between the US and Britain. On 1 November 2005, it held a memorial service for the 7 July bombings. In October 2009, a service of commemoration was held in St Paul's to mark the end of combat operations in Iraq. The service was attended by the Queen and the Duke of Edinbrugh, as well as by the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, the Earl of Wessex and the Princess Royal. The Royal Family holds most of its important marriages, christenings and funerals at Westminster Abbey, but St Paul's was used for the marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. The religious service for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee was also celebrated there. It is possible to climb the 530 steps to the Golden Gallery, where there are panoramic views of London from 280 ft above. In 2000, the cathedral began a major restoration programme to celebrate the 300th anniversary of its 'topping out'. A ceremony to celebrate the anniversary was directed by Patrick Garland. The restoration programme cost £40 million, and involves repair and cleaning of the building, and improvement of visitor facilities, such as accessibility for the disabled, and provision of additional educational facilities. The programme of cleaning and repairs will be finished by 2011.

Previous cathedrals

There had been a late-Roman episcopal see in London. According to the tradition recorded by Bede, the first Saxon cathedral was built by Mellitus in AD 604 in Lundenwic. The unproven conjecture that it occupied the site of the present cathedral is that it was these missionaries' habit, as in mainland Europe, to build cathedrals within Roman cities. However, the Roman city of London, then called Lundenburh, was unoccupied at that time, unlike conditions in the areas of continental Europe where there was continuity of urban occupation and ecclesiastic succession. Geoffrey of Monmouth claimed that the cathedral had been built on the site of a temple dedicated to the goddess Diana, in alignment with the Apollo temple that he imagined once stood at Westminster, although Christopher Wren found no evidence of this (Kruger 1943). Geoffrey was disbelieved by contemporaries, and there is no evidence of any occupation at the Westminster site in the Roman period. If any church building existed, perhaps a reutilised existing structure, then it would have only been a modest chapel at first and may well have been destroyed after Mellitus was expelled from the city by Sæberht's pagan successors. Wherever its predecessor was sited, the successor building within the reoccupied City (built ca 886) was destroyed in a "most fatal fire" in 962, as mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Presumably it was made of timber. The third cathedral was begun in 962, perhaps in stone. In it was buried Ethelred the Unready. It burnt, with the whole city, in a fire in 1087, noted in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

'Old St Paul's'
The fourth St Paul's, known when architectural history arose in the 19th century as Old St Paul's, was begun by the Normans after the 1087 fire. Work took over 200 years, and a great deal was lost in a fire in 1136. The roof was once more built of wood, which was ultimately to doom the building. The church was consecrated in 1240, but a change of heart led to the commencement of an enlargement programme in 1256. When this 'New Work' was completed in 1314 — the cathedral had been consecrated in 1300 — it was the third-longest church in Europe. Excavations by Francis Penrose in 1878 showed it was 585 feet (178 m) long and 100 feet (30 m) wide (290 feet or 87 m across the transepts and crossing), and had one of Europe's tallest spires, at some 489 feet (149 m). By the 16th century the building was decaying. Under Henry VIII and Edward VI, the Dissolution of the Monasteries and Chantries Acts led to the destruction of interior ornamentation and the cloisters, charnels, crypts, chapels, shrines, chantries and other buildings in St Paul's Churchyard. Many of these former religious sites in the churchyard, having been seized by the Crown, were sold as shops and rental properties, especially to printers and booksellers, who were often evangelical Protestants. Buildings that were razed often supplied ready-dressed building material for construction projects, such as the Lord Protector's city palace, Somerset House. Crowds were drawn to the northeast corner of the Churchyard, St Paul's Cross, where open-air preaching took place. In 1561 the spire was destroyed by lightning and it was not replaced; this event was taken by both Protestants and Catholics as a sign of God's displeasure at the other faction's actions. England's first classical architect, Inigo Jones, added the cathedral's west front in the 1630s, but there was much defacing mistreatment of the building by Parliamentarian forces during the Civil War, when the old documents and charters were dispersed and destroyed (Kelly 2004). "Old St Paul's" was gutted in the Great Fire of London of 1666. While it might have been salvageable, albeit with almost complete reconstruction, a decision was taken to build a new cathedral in a modern style instead. Indeed this had been contemplated even before the fire.

Wren's St Paul's

Design and construction

The task of designing a replacement structure was officially assigned to Sir Christopher Wren in 1668, along with over fifty other City churches. St. Paul’s went through five general stages of design. Wren initially began surveying the property and drawing up designs before the Great Fire of 1666, and these drawings for the most part included the addition of a dome on the existing building to replace the dilapidated spire, and a restoration of the interiors that would complement the 1630 Inigo Jones-designed facade. After the fire, the ruins of the building were still thought to be workable, but ultimately the entire structure was demolished in the early 1670s to start afresh. Wren’s second design, the first to be a completely new building, was a Greek cross, which was considered to be too radical by his critics because it lacked the programme necessary to conduct mass. Wren’s third proposal for the new St. Paul’s used many of the same design concepts as his Greek cross design, though it had an extended nave. This design was embodied in his creation in 1673 of the " Great Model". The model, made of oak and plaster, cost over £500 (approximately £32,000 today) and was over 13’ tall and 21’ long. His critics, members of a committee commissioned to rebuild the church and members of the clergy, decried the design as being too dissimilar from churches that already existed in England at the time to suggest any continuity within the Church of England. Clergymen also preferred a Latin cross plan for services. Another problem was that the entire design would have to be completed all at once because of the eight central piers that supported the dome, instead of being completed in stages and opened for use before construction finished, as was customary. Wren considered the Great Model his favorite design, and thought it a reflection of Renaissance beauty. After the Great Model, Wren resolved to make no more models or publicly expose his drawings, which he found to do nothing but "lose time, and subject his business many times, to incompetent judges". Wren's fourth design, the Warrant design, sought to reconcile the Gothic, the predominant form of English churches, to a "better manner of architecture." Wren attempted to integrate the same concepts of Renaissance harmony into a much more Gothic style. This design was rotated slightly on its site so that it aligned not with true east, but with sunrise on Easter of the year construction began. This small change in configuration made by Wren was informed by his knowledge of astronomy. His design of the portico was influenced by Inigo Jones’s addition to Old St. Paul’s. The final design as built differs largely in its ornamentation from the official Warrant design. Wren received permission from the king to make "ornamental changes" to the submitted design, and Wren took great advantage of this. Many of these changes were made over the course of the thirty years as the church was constructed, and the most significant was to the dome: "He raised another structure over the first cupola, a cone of brick, so as to support a stone lantern of an elegant figure... And he covered and hid out of sight the brick cone with another cupola of timber and lead; and between this and the cone are easy stairs that ascend to the lantern" (Christopher Wren, son of Sir Christopher Wren). The final design was strongly rooted in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The saucer domes that were eventually added to the design were inspired by François Mansart’s Val-de-Grâce, which Wren had seen during a trip to Paris in 1665. The first stone of the cathedral was laid in 1677 by Thomas Strong, Wren's master stonemason. On Thursday, 2 December 1697, thirty-two years and three months after a spark from Farryner's bakery had caused the Great Fire of London, St Paul's Cathedral came into use. The widower King William III had been scheduled to appear but, uncomfortable in crowds and public displays, had bowed out at the last minute. The crowd of both the great and the small was so big, and their attitude towards William so indifferent, that he was scarcely missed. The Right Reverend Henry Compton, Bishop of London, preached the sermon. It was based on the text of Psalm 122, "I was glad when they said unto me: Let us go into the house of the LORD." The first regular service was held on the following Sunday. The 'topping out' of the Cathedral (when the final stone was placed on the lantern) took place in October 1708 and the cathedral was declared officially complete by Parliament in 1710. It cost £736,750, (£87.5 million as of 2010), . The consensus was as it is with all such works: some loved it ("Without, within, below, above the eye/ Is filled with unrestrained delight."); some hated it ("...There was an air of Popery about the gilded capitals, the heavy arches...They were unfamiliar, un-English.."); while most, once their curiosity was satisfied, didn't think about it one way or another. Sir Christopher Wren Said, "I am going to dine with some men. If anyone calls, Say I am designing St Paul's." A clerihew by Edmund Clerihew Bentley

Structural engineering
The walls of the cathedral are particularly thick to avoid the need for large flying buttresses. The windows are set into deep recesses in the walls. The upper parts of the cathedral walls are reinforced with small flying buttresses, which were a relatively late design change to give extra strength. These are concealed behind a large curtain wall, which was added to keep the building's classical style intact. The large crossing dome is composed of three layers. The inner and outer layers are catenary curves, but the structural integrity to support the heavy stone structure atop the dome is provided by a intermediary layer which is much steeper and more conical in shape. The dome is restrained round its base by a wrought iron chain to prevent it spreading and cracking.

Artists and craftsmen

The construction and decoration of the Cathedral involved many of the foremost artists and craftsmen in England; these were:
  • Sir James Thornhill - painted the eight monochrome paintings of the life of St Paul that adorn the interior of the dome. Engravings of the paintings were published in 1720.
  • Grinling Gibbons - responsible for the woodwork, most notably the choir stalls, and sculpted the pediment of the north transept.
  • Jean Tijou - most of the wrought ironwork, including the gates flanking the high altar.
  • Bernard Smith - designed and built the organ.
  • Caius Gabriel Cibber - sculpted the pediment of the south transept.
  • Francis Bird - sculpted the great west pediment showing the conversion of St Paul, plus the seven large sculptures on the west front.

The cathedral is built of Portland stone in a late Renaissance style that represents England's sober Baroque. Its impressive dome was inspired by St Peter's Basilica in Rome. It rises 365 feet (108 m) to the cross at its summit, making it a famous London landmark. Wren achieved a pleasing appearance by building three domes: the tall outer dome is non-structural but impressive to view, the lower inner dome provides an artistically balanced interior, and between the two is a structural cone that supports the apex structure and the outer dome. Wren was said to have been hauled up to the rafters in a basket during the building of its later stages to inspect progress. The nave has three small chapels in the two adjoining aisles – All Souls and St Dunstan's in the north aisle and the Chapel of the Order of St Michael and St George in the south aisle. The main space of the cathedral is centred under the inner dome, which rises 108.4 metres from the cathedral floor and holds three circular galleries – the internal Whispering Gallery, the external Stone Gallery, and the external Golden Gallery. The Whispering Gallery runs around the interior of the dome 99 feet (30.2 m) above the cathedral floor. It is reached by 259 steps from ground level. It gets its name because, as with any dome, a whisper against its wall at any point is audible to a listener with an ear held to the wall at any other point around the gallery. A low murmur is equally audible. The base of the inner dome is 173 feet (53.4 m) above the floor. Its top is about 65 m above the floor, making this the greatest height of the enclosed space. The cathedral is some 574 feet (175 m) in length (including the portico of the Great West Door), of which 223 feet (68 m) is the nave and 167 feet (51 m) is the choir. The width of the nave is 121 feet (37 m) and across the transepts is 246 feet (75 m). The cathedral is thus slightly shorter but somewhat wider than Old St Paul's. The quire extends to the east of the dome and holds the stalls for the clergy and the choir and the organ. To the north and south of the dome are the transepts, here called the North Choir and the South Choir. Details of the towers at the west end ( illustration, left) and their dark voids are boldly scaled, in order to read well from the street below and from a distance, for the towers have always stood out in the urban skyline. They are composed of two complementary elements, a central cylinder rising through the tiers in a series of stacked drums, and paired Corinthian columns at the corners, with buttresses above them, which serve to unify the drum shape with the square block plinth containing the clock. The main entablature breaks forward over the paired columns to express both elements, tying them together in a single horizontal band. The cap, like a bell-shaped miniature dome, supports a gilded finial, a pinecone supported on four scrolling angled brackets, the topmost expression of the consistent theme. The north-west tower contains 13 bells hung for change ringing while the south-west contains four, including Great Paul, at 16½ tons - the largest bell in the British Isles, cast in 1881, and Great Tom (the hour bell), recast twice, the last time by Richard Phelps, after being moved from St. Stephen's Chapel at the Palace of Westminster. The bell is only rung on occasions of a death in the royal family, the Bishop of London, or London's mayor, although an exception was made at the death of US President James Garfield. In 1717, Richard Phelps cast two more bells that were added as " quarter jacks". Still in use today, the first weighs 13 long hundredweights (1,500 lb; 660 kg), is 41 inches (1,000 mm) in diameter and is tuned to A flat; the second weighs 35 long hundredweights (3,900 lb; 1,800 kg) and is 58 inches (1,500 mm) in diameter and is tuned to E flat. Post-Wren history This cathedral has survived despite being targeted during the Blitz- it was struck by bombs on 10 October 1940 and 17 April 1941. On 12 September 1940 a time-delayed bomb that had struck the cathedral was successfully defused and removed by a bomb disposal detachment of Royal Engineers under the command of Temporary Lieutenant Robert Davies. Had this bomb detonated, it would have totally destroyed the cathedral, as it left a 100-foot (30 m) crater when it was later remotely detonated in a secure location. As a result of this action, Davies was awarded the George Cross, along with Sapper George Cameron Wylie. On 29 December 1940, the cathedral had another close call when an incendiary bomb became lodged in the lead shell of the dome but fell outwards onto the Stone Gallery and was put out before it could ignite the dome timbers. A photograph taken that day showing the cathedral shrouded in smoke became a famous image of the times. Memorials The cathedral has a very substantial crypt, holding over 200 memorials, and serves as both the Order of the British Empire Chapel and the Treasury. The cathedral has very few treasures: many have been lost, and in 1810 a major robbery took almost all of the remaining precious artefacts. Christopher Wren was the first person to be interred, in 1723: on the wall above his tomb in the crypt is written, "Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice" ( Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you). St Paul's is home to other plaques, carvings, statues, memorials and tombs of famous British figures including:
  • General Sir Isaac Brock
  • Sir Edwin Lutyens
  • John Donne, whose funeral effigy (portraying him in a shroud) but not his tomb survives from Old St Paul's.
  • Lord Kitchener
  • The Duke of Wellington
  • Lord Horatio Nelson
  • Henry Moore
  • Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood
  • Sir William Alexander Smith
  • Sir Winston Churchill
  • T. E. Lawrence, whose bust faces Nelson's sarcophagus
  • Sir Alexander Fleming
  • Garnet Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley
  • Sir Philip Vian
  • John Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe
  • David Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty
  • Sir Arthur Sullivan
  • Sir Hubert Parry
  • Florence Nightingale
  • J. M. W. Turner
  • Sir Joshua Reynolds
  • Dr. Samuel Johnson
  • Ivor Novello
  • Charles Cornwallis
  • Frederick George Jackson
  • Mandell Creighton and Louise Creighton
  • Roy Thomson, 1st Baron Thomson of Fleet
Most of the memorials commemorate the British military, including several lists of servicemen who died in action, the most recent being the Gulf War. There are special monuments to Lord Nelson in the south transept and to the Duke of Wellington in the north aisle; both are buried here. Also remembered are poets, painters, clergy and residents of the local parish. There are lists of the Bishops and cathedral Deans for the last thousand years. The apse of the cathedral is home to the American Memorial Chapel. It honours American servicemen and women who died in World War II, and was dedicated in 1958. It was paid for entirely by donations from British people, and was designed, as a modern exercise in the Wren style, by Godfrey Allen and Stephen Dykes Bower. The roll of honour contains the names of more than 28,000 Americans who gave their lives while on their way to, or stationed in, the United Kingdom during the Second World War. It is in front of the chapel's altar. The three chapel windows date from 1960; they feature themes of service and sacrifice, while the insignia around the edges represent the American states and the US armed forces. The limewood panelling incorporates a rocket - a tribute to America's achievements in space. The cathedral has been the site of many famous funerals, including those of Horatio Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill and George Mallory.

St Paul's Cathedral Arts Project
The St Paul’s Cathedral Arts Project is an ongoing programme which seeks to explore the encounter between art and faith. Recent projects have included installations by Antony Gormley, Rebecca Horn, Yoko Ono and Martin Firrell. In March 2010, Flare II, a sculpture by Antony Gormley, was installed in the dramatic setting of the Geometric Staircase. In 2007, Dean and Chapter commissioned public artist Martin Firrell to create a major public artwork to mark the 300th anniversary of the topping-out of Wren's building. The Question Mark Inside consisted of digital text projections to the cathedral dome, West Front and inside onto the Whispering Gallery. The text was based on blog contributions by the general public as well as interviews conducted by the artist and the artist's own views. The project presented a stream of possible answers to the question: 'what makes life meaningful and purposeful, and what does St Paul's mean in that contemporary context?' The Question Mark Inside opened on 8 November 2008 and ran for eight nights. In 2009, St Paul's Cathedral commissioned Internationally acclaimed artist Bill Viola has been commissioned to create two altarpieces for permanent display in St Paul’s Cathedral. The project commenced production in mid 2009 with completion in early 2011. Bill Viola has been commissioned to create two altarpieces on the themes of Mary and Martyrs. These two multi-screen video installations will be permanently located at the end of the Quire aisles, flanking the High Altar of the Cathedral and the American Memorial Chapel where US servicemen and women who gave their lives in the Second World War are commemorated. Each work will employ an arrangement of multiple plasma screen panels configured in a manner similar to historic altarpieces. In 2007, the World Monuments Fund and American Express awarded St Paul's a grant as part of their Sustainable Tourism initiative. The project will open up rarely seen areas, relieve crowding in the nave - which suffers heavily from foot traffic and fluctuations in humidity - and fund a new Exploration Centre in the crypt. This centre will provide insight into a variety of topics relating to the cathedral, including architecture, history, science, music, and, of course, religion. A lapidarium of recovered medieval stones and the room containing Wren's "Great Model" (currently only seen by appointment) will also be opened to the public.

Organ and Organists

The organ was commissioned in 1694: the current instrument is the third-biggest in Britain with 7,189 pipes and 108 stops, enclosed in an impressive case by Grinling Gibbons. Details of the organ from the National Pipe Organ Register

Organists and Directors of Music

Sub-Organists and Organists
  • George Cooper (father) 1???-1838
  • George Cooper (son) 1838-1876 (also Organist HM Chapel Royal)
  • George Clement Martin 1876-1888 (subsequently Organist)
  • William Hodge 1888-1895
  • Charles Macpherson 1895-1916 (subsequently Organist)
  • Stanley Marchant 1916-1927 (subsequently Organist)
  • Douglas Edward Hopkins 1927-1946 (subsequently Organist Peterborough Cathedral; later Organist Canterbury Cathedral)
  • Harry Gabb 1946-1974 (also Organist, Choirmaster & Composer HM Chapel Royal)
  • Barry Rose 1974-1984 (Master of the Choir 1977-1984; later Master of Music St Albans Abbey)
  • John Scott 1985-1990 (subsequently Organist & Director of Music; now Director of Music St Thomas, Fifth Avenue)
  • Andrew Lucas 1990-1998 (now Master of Music, St Albans Abbey)
  • Huw Williams 1998-2008 (now Sub Organist, HM Chapel Royal)
In 2007 the posts of Organist and Director of Music were separated, the Sub-Organist post being re-titled Organist & Assistant Director of Music in September 2008.
  • Simon Johnson 2008 (September) - present

Assistant Sub-organists and Sub-Organists
  • Gerald Wheeler 1953 - 1956
  • Derek Holman 1956 - 1958
  • Richard Popplewell 1958 - 1966 (subsequently Organist, Choirmaster & Composer HM Chapel Royal)
  • Timothy Farrell 1966 - 1967 (subsequently Organist, Choirmaster & Composer HM Chapel Royal)
  • Christopher Herrick 1967 - 1978 (subsequently Sub-Organist Westminster Abbey)
  • John Scott 1978 - 1985 (simultaneously held post of Assistant Organist Southwark Cathedral; subsequently Sub-Organist)
  • Andrew Lucas 1985 - 1990 (subsequently Sub-Organist)
  • Martin Baker 1990 - 1991 (later Sub-Organist & Acting Organist Westminster Abbey; now Master of Music Westminster Cathedral)
  • Richard Moorhouse 1992 - 2000 (now Organist & Master of the Choristers Llandaff Cathedral)
  • Mark Williams 2000 - 2006 (now Director of Music Jesus College, Cambridge)
  • Tom Winpenny 2006 - 2008 (now Assistant Master of Music St Albans Abbey)
In 2007 the posts of Organist and Dire
  • c.1525 - 1547 John Redford (also Almoner)
  • 1547 Philip ap Rhys (until c.1559)
  • 1573 Henry Mudd
  • 1587? - 1592? Thomas Morley
  • 1598 Thomas Harrold
  • 1619 John Tomkins
  • 1638-1642 Albertus Bryne
  • 1660-1668 Albertus Bryne
  • 1687 Isaac Blackwell
  • 1699 Jeremiah Clarke (also Almoner 1704-7)
  • 1707 Richard Brind
  • 1718 Maurice Greene
  • 1756 John Jones
  • 1796 Thomas Attwood
  • 1838 Sir John Goss
  • 1872 Sir John Stainer
  • 1888 Sir George Clement Martin
  • 1916 Charles Macpherson
  • 1927 Sir Stanley Marchant
  • 1936 Sir John Dykes Bower
  • 1968 Christopher Dearnley
  • 1990 John Scott (Organist & Director of Music)
  • 2004 Malcolm Archer
  • 2007 Andrew Carwood (Director of Music)


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