Posted by: jodester87 | March 18, 2009

Architecture Visit St. Paul’s Cathedral

Tuesday 17 March 2009

2 pm

The class is learning about Christopher Wren who was commissioned to rebuild around 50 churches after the Great London Fire. One of the most famous is St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is near where the fire started.

Once the group had assembled we made our way into the church, and for tourist you do have to pay to see the place. We went on the Triforum Tour of the building where we saw the staircase to the clocktower, which was used in one of the Harry Potter movies. Moving onward we climbed a bunch of shallow stairs to see the gallery of the church. The entire time we were up there we could hear the orchestra and choir practice for a recording. We also saw the small passageways through the crossing that men had to crawl through during the air raids of World War 2.

After seeing the gallery we made our way into the the church’s library. Here we learned about some of the engraving indicating that it was to be a library. We then went into an opening that over looked the passage towards the alter where trumpets (controlled by the organist) were situated. Looking out a large window one can easily see the top of St. Bride’s, which is the inspiration for the Bridal cake at weddings.

Crossing that opening we were luckily to see into the embroaders room, where they were making some ceremonial robes for the bishop. This room is located under the belltower. Imagine the noise of that…eek.

 The group then made our way to the model room. In this room is a model of the Warrant design for the building. It almost has a Greek cross design to it, which was the plan before that one. The thing about this model is that it will light up so you can see inside of it. The room holds Wren’s designs for the rebuilding of St. Pauls along with his death mask and a few other items.

After the tour the group climbed back down the staircase only to walk around the church and climb another staircase to the Whispering Gallery. Now here’s the deal with this, you can look down at the crossing, where the rehersal was being held. But if one were to put their ear to the wall you could hear what was being said across the circle. Looking upward you can see the bright colors and the lead dome. There is also another area you can climb to and look downward onto the Whispering Gallery.

We all climbed towards it. The staircase towards it is small, not one for the claustrophobic, and steep. Even for the most fit person they would eventually feel the burn of the climb in their calves and ankles, possible lungs. I highly recommend taking your time in the climb. When you think that you cannot take anymore you see a few more steps and you are lead out onto this patio that overlooks the city. It really is a phenomenal view. Warning it can get chilly up there and it is quiet windy. You have to go outside in order to get to the top of the dome, unfortunately for this visit that was closed off.

London Eye

London Eye

So after a few photos we made our descent down the stairs, and it is 119 stairs. With them being small I took my time holding onto the wall and the railing because I had no desire to fall down those spiral stone stairs. At this point I started feeling the burn in my thighs. Then after circling around the Whispering Gallery we went down more stairs (It was the day of stairs) although these were smaller steps height wise.

By the time we reached the bottom, after losing about half the group, my legs were wobbly and desperately wanted to sit down. But alas once we got our group back together we made our way down to the crypt. And guess what there were more stairs. We saw the tomb of Admiral Nelson. At this point the class was dismissed and my friend Joyce and I browsed around the gift shop before by passing the cafe and leaving the building to head back home for a brief time before going to the play that night.

We passed by a cute clothing store entitled Joy, where I saw a pair of earrings that I thought were cute for 6 pounds along with a sweet purse. I may have to go back there at some, perhaps when my Contemporary Britain class takes our field trip there.



  1. [love the photograph]

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