Monday, 9 February 2009

St Paul's Cathedral

A cathedral has stood on this site since around the 7th Century AD and the current building is estimated to be the fifth construction on the site. The previous building was one of the many destroyed in the Great Fire (1666) and the current cathedral was one of the many buildings designed by Sir Christopher Wren.

The building we know today was based on the third proposal for the site. The first design which followed the outline of the old foundations was rejected, the second design (in the shape of a Greek cross) was also reject as too radical, and the third design, the 'warrant' design was approved; and Wren was given permission by King Charles II to make 'ornamental' changes to the approved design, amongst which was the enlargement of the dome to that which we see today.

The cathedral managed to withstand the Blitz during the Second World War, despite several times being hit by bombs; it is, therefore, a symbol of London's 'Blitz spirit' and survival abilities.

St Paul's from Cheapside

The famous dome

St Paul's from the churchyard

On the edge of the new Paternoster Square development is Temple Bar. Originally located on the Western edge of the City where Fleet Street becomes The Strand it was one of eight principle entries to the city (the others being: Ludgate, Aldgate, Newgate, Cripplegate, Moorgate, Bishopsgate and Aldersgate). The stone structure (by Christopher Wren) stood across Fleet Street (where it obstructed the traffic) until it was carefully dismantled and sold. It was reconstructed on a country estate (Theobald's Park) in Hertfodshire where it stood until 2003 when it was again dismantled and returned to the City (albeit not quite where it started).

Temple Bar

Paternoster Square is an area between St Paul's and Newgate Street. It was originally developed in the 1960's for office and retail use. It was a grey, bleak development characterised by faceless blocks and a deserted square. By the late 80s/early 90s it had pretty much fallen vacant, and the last time that I walked through there it was reminiscent of something out of Clockwork Orange!

The redevelopment opened in 2004 and although the new square still has detractors it cannot be anything but an improvement on what was previously occupying the site!

Paternoster Square Column

Juxon House adjacent to Temple Bar

From St Paul's it is a short walk over the Millennium Bridge to Southwark or a trip along Canon Street to London Bridge.

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