The sunset was great yesterday, and I was lucky enough finally to get an image of one of London’s most famous landmarks (almost) as I wanted it.
As many of you will know, this is St Paul’s Cathedral – probably London’s most famous religious building. It’s the second cathedral on the site, however – the first was a significantly taller, gothic structure which was completely destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. At the time it was seen as a catastrophe, but the clearance of the site allowed Sir Christopher Wren to build this – his regency landmark. Originally Wren wanted the cathedral to be a square cross, with the dome at the centre, but it was felt that this was a bit close to heathen ideas such as Orthodox Christianity, and the traditional long-nave structure prevailed. So it has remained: famously, St Paul’s was virtually undamaged during the Blitz and throughout the Second World War (unlike, for example, the Houses of Parliament).
The interior is genuinely stunning – I can well imagine that, at the time of its construction, worshippers must have felt that the vast dome had been constructed by God himself – but sadly you’re not allowed to take photos in there. Bear in mind, too, that it would’ve been the tallest thing around for many years – and, in fact, the views of St Paul’s are seen as so iconic that certain ‘sight lines’ through central London protect them from high-rise urban development. (That’s why some of London’s newest skyscrapers are wedge-shaped rather than vertical cuboids.)
Okay, so there are a few things I would change if I could, including getting rid of those awful lamp-posts and the construction work at the base of the Cathedral. It’s also a touch grainy due to hand-holding, but I didn’t have much of a choice! Another time…