Saturday, May 31, 2008

Photo Essay: St Paul's Cathedral, London

It was evening when I got to walk past St. Paul's on the way to a meeting at the London Stock Exchange and as I  was a few minutes early, I took out the camera to take some photos of the St. Paul's Cathedral. It is an imposing building.

Once upon a time, many moons ago, I was working at Goldman Sachs, which had a building right in front of St. Paul's and at that time, I used to walk over to the grounds of St. Paul's and have my lunch there. But of course, at that time, I did not have a handy camera. But now I do and here are some of the pictures taken in haste.

the pillars on the front of the cathedral with quite intricate carving
this was an iron fence which presumably protects the corner of the building from getting knocked and damaged.

this is a view of the northern side of the cathedral looking due east. The cathedral has a strong Greco-roman feel with those columns and crenellations.
Looking back up west and if you keep on going up, you will hit Fleet Street.

There seems to be some restoration going on as well, its Albion Stone, a very nice buttery cream coloured limestone. Can you imagine trying to restore stone to what it was like before? And St. Paul's restoration is a long term project. Mind you, this particular building is the fourth to occupy this site and this latest one was created around 1700's. Designed by that great man, Christopher Wren. See some pictures of the restoration here.  
The fence is made up of some serious ironmongery, the casting of these fences should have taken up serious amounts of money, time and skill.
This is the statue of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.  He looked far too stern for my liking, reminded me of one of the teachers I had in my Jesuit school, but you can see the man who is perhaps responsible for one of the greatest flowerings of evangelical Christianity in modern ages.


The base of the pillar containing the statue of St. John the Baptist (I think, it wasn't clear which John...) But the raised bronze/copper? inscription was very interesting. Makes you wonder about your own mortality. One erects these monuments to the dead and 100 years later, a man will be standing in front of it and wondering who or what Anne Richards was. It says, "IN MEMORY OF ANNE RICHARD BVRIED IN THIS CHVRCHYARD OF HER SON FREDRICK RICHARDS FOR MANY YEARS RESIDENT IN WAITING STREET AND OF HER GRANDSON FREDRICK FIELD RICHARDS PRIEST RESIDENT FOR MANY YEARS IN ST. PAVLS CHVRCHYARD THIS CROSS WAS ERECTED BY HENRY CHARLES RICHARDS CITIZEN BAKER AND TVRNER ONE OF HIS MAJESTY'S COVNSEL TREASURER OF THE HONORABLE SOCIETY OF GRAY'S INN 1904 1905 AND MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR EAST FINSBURY 1895 1905 WHO SPENT THE HAPPIEST HOVRS OF A BVSY LIFE AS A FREQVENT WORSHIPPER WITHIN THE WALLS OF THIS CATHEDRAL "GOD BE MERCIFUL TO ME AS A SINNER".... 1905

Notice that the U's are replaced with V's, impact of Latin perhaps? A bit verbose and perhaps I would not have written so much, but hey, who pays the piper gets to call the tune. But the craftsmanship was brilliant, very nice.


Then we have a bench which has a plaque which states, "IN PROUD MEMORY OF THE LATE LT. COL. H. N. CLARK, DSO, TD, COMMANDING OFFICER, 290 BDE RFA (T) PRESENTED BY 2/1ST CITY OF LONDON, RFA, OCA, 1914-1918. That's Royal Field Artillery for you. Here's an interesting site which tells you about the man who commanded this group of men, they were part of 1st corps, 58th London Division, and I quote: "58th Division advancing on Lens on the right" on 11th November 1918, the day the first great war ended...

So while I was sitting there on that peaceful evening looking up at the great building, this bench was commemorating a man who led men on the battlefields of one of the most violent conflicts known to man. All quiet on the western front?

Then I trundled around back to the front of the cathedral which has an interesting series of polished stone bollards around the front. You can see up the road and walk down the stairs holding on to this massive bronze handrail, very nicely crafted as well. Although I think the stone bollards are new.
The porch (although it is way too big to be called as a porch) was massive with the pillars and the marble flooring. You can see the huge wooden doors on the left hand side photograph behind the photographer. Although the alcoves looked empty. It was as if they were designed to hold statues, but they did not. I was also not sure about the purpose of the pillars, so close to the main wall. Are they really load bearing or just for show?

The wooden doors were massive and the bronze rosettes were big as well, and looking at the ceiling,  it is very tightly sculpted in that Albion stone. Lovely warm stone, but apparently it gets dirty very quickly...

As before, for the full slide show (and some more photographs) in much bigger resolution, please click here or click on the thumbnail to go to a bigger resolution picture.

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