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    Rating Key

    ***** Outstanding
    **** Excellent
    *** Good
    ** Quite interesting
    * Not very interesting but worthy of inclusion


    5 Open for long periods, or key readily available
    4 May be open for long periods, but best to check beforehand
    3 Uncertain opening times
    2 Closed for all or most of the time other than for services
    1 Closed at all times

Site: St Paul's Cathedral
Denomination: Church of England
Type: Cathedral
Famous Connections: Sir Christopher Wren, architect (1632-1723)
Period: 17th Century, 18th Century, 19th Century, 20th Century, 21st Century

Features: Chancel area, Crypt, Dome, Doorways, Monuments, Nave area, Paintings, Screens, Transepts, Woodwork

Location: Nearest underground St Pauls


The first cathedral was probably founded in 604, when Mellitus was Bishop of London and Ethelbert was King of Kent. Nothing is known of its appearance or size, or the way it almost certainly grew. But it was destroyed by fire in 1087, and a new building was very slowly constructed to replace it, hampered by a fire in 1136. In the 13th century the E end was enlarged to accommodate the greatly increased number of clergy, in keeping with what happened to most of the English cathedrals at that time. The lengthening of the church entailed the demolition of an existing chapel of St Faith, which was transferred to the crypt that is now known by that name. When completed, the cathedral was one of the largest in England. A new chapter house was built in 1332. After the Great Fire of 1666 it was decided to undertake a total rebuild. And so it was that Sir Christopher Wren conceived and produced his grand ideal of a cathedral church in a Greek cross design, and it was a variation of this that was finally adopted. The domed structure was controversial, and for a time he had to temporally abandon the idea, but it was finally agreed, and the masterpiece took shape. The main features include the dome, the second largest in the world; the magnificent array of monuments to some of the nations foremost figures throughout the last 450 years; the visual impact of the nave, transepts and chancel; a later version of William Holman Hunt's painting, The Light of the World; and the crypt. St Paul's became a particular focus of attention in 2011 with a highly publicised extended sit-in demonstration outside its doors concerning Capitalism that resulted in the temporary closure of the cathedral and staff resignations.

Address: Ludgate Hill/St Paul's Churchyard, City, London (Inner), EC4 M8
Phone Number: 020 7246 8350/8357

Rating: *****

Open: 5