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St. Paul's Cathedral: A Story of Survival

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

St. Paul's Cathedral is one of the most famous landmarks in all of London and holds an interesting history. The Old St Paul's Cathedral looked very different as it was built from red bricks in a gothic style. When the Old St. Paul's Cathedral was first built, it held a record as being the tallest building in Europe for 300 years! Unfortunately, it did not survive the great fire of London.

Image St. Paul's old by Francis Bond

The current St Paul’s Cathedral was built by Sir Christopher Wren after the 1666 Fire of London. After the fire, it might have been possible to rebuild the cathedral as before but the proposal for its reconstruction has been made even before the fire started. Hence, the cathedral rose like a Phoenix from the ashes - the remains of the old cathedral were demolished and the new cathedral was built in a modern style.

Survival of the cathedral came under threat again during the Second World War, when London was heavily bombed by the Germans. Prime Minister Winston Churchill issued a message saying "the cathedral must be saved at any cost" and against all odds it survived,

Image Air Raid Damage in Britain during the Second World War by Herbert Mason

This is the devastating view from the cathedral. As you can see, the area around St.Pauls was heavily destroyed. Survival of the cathedral is largely due to a group of volunteers known as St Paul’s watch. They stayed up during the night and guarded the building. In case of fire or any other damage, they were the first response to tackle it.

Image View from St Paul's Cathedral after the Blitz by H.Mason

The inside of St Paul's is a wonder to behold. It is a remarkable example of Baroque architecture with its three bays. The vaults were enhanced and decorated with mosaics by Sir William Blake Richmond.

It is hard to imagine a more beautiful place than the magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral. No wonder it is one of London's most popular historical tourist attractions for visitors from all over the world.

Image St. Paul's Cathedral by Alex Tai

Blog post created by Ruta from GlobeTrott Travel

Based on "The City of London" audio tour @GlobeTrott Travel

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