St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most famous buildings in London. The architect, Sir Christopher Wren, designed it. It was built between 1675 and 1710.
The Great Fire of London
In September 1666, there was a fire in a baker’s shop in London. Many of the buildings in the city were wooden so the fire quickly spread. It lasted four days and destroyed 60% of the city. The fire badly damaged the old cathedral. Christopher Wren suggested plans to rebuild the city including St Paul’s Cathedral.
Christopher Wren was born in England in 1632. He was an excellent student. He went to Oxford University and at the age of twenty-five became a professor of Astronomy. He was also a brilliant mathematician, a physicist and an architect. It took thirty-five years to build St Paul’s Cathedral. Christopher Wren lived to the age of ninety so he was still alive when the cathedral was finished. He is buried there.
St Paul’s architecture is similar to St Peter’s in Rome. The style is a mix of renaissance and baroque. It has a very large dome. Inside the dome is the famous Whispering Gallery. If you speak very quietly at one side of the gallery people can hear on the other side!
There have been many famous events in St Paul’s Cathedral. They include the funeral of Winston Churchill, Britain’s prime minister during World War II and the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. The Cathedral is often in films. You can see it in Mary Poppins, 101 Dalmatians and Lawrence of Arabia.