Sir Christopher Wren. Need he have an introduction?
In or around late 1660 or 1661 he was asked to advise on the restoration of the Old St Paul’s Cathedral. The events of 1666 saw The Great Fire of London bring the cathedral down. His commission became to rebuild the churches of London, including St Paul’s Cathedral. He is considered responsible for 52 churches in The City of London.
Wren’s commission for the Cathedral required the permission of the clergy. They didn’t approve his initial design and favoured a spire.
Well, as we see above, no spire was delivered. Instead, Wren decided on a single dome and two additional towers, and hid his design beneath the scaffolding until the build was too far along to object. Given that he had been permitted by Charles II only to make “variations, ornamental rather than essential” to the designs expected by the clergy, I think he may have faced a case of “tell it to the judge!”.
Today, St Paul’s dominates the views of The City. When a new building is proposed, the primary concern for planners and the public alike is how it affects views across to St Paul’s. This has resulted in some constraints in The City’s architecture; in other cases one can only wonder why certain buildings were granted planning permission.
Yesterday I joined an Open City tour of The City of London, led by Grant Smith. While I live in the midst of the amazing space that is The City, I wanted to experience someone else’s eyes. Here are some other photos that I took.
1930s classical architecture. The police station. Up for sale? Could it disappear?
When visited: November 2015