St. Paul's Cathedral in London, England

Better Essays
St. Paul’s Cathedral, in London, England, was designed by architect Sir Christopher Wren. Approval of this most significant architectural project took six years just for the plan. Construction, which began in 1675, took thirty-five years until finally complete in 1710. It was built to replace a church that had been leveled by the Great Fire of 1666. St. Paul's is the largest cathedral in England, and said to be Wren's masterpiece. He brought a range of new forms, and architectural combination into English architecture. Masonry, brick, timber, and cut stone were used to form the structure of the cathedral. St. Paul’s Cathedral has been one of the main socially significant buildings in London. Cathedrals all around, have always played a large role in the communities they serve. Their fundamental purpose is to bring people closer to God, but over the centuries they have served as a focal point for trade, as a stronghold and a place of safety in times of war, and as immense status symbols. The functions, of a cathedral, take on an additional significance for St Paul's, because it’s known as the cathedral of the capital city and, of the nation. The present building is also the first cathedral to have been built since the creation of the Church of England in 1534, when religion was brought under the direct control of the monarch. This quote from Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage really shows the significance the Church has made in England. “St Paul's Cathedral is the internationally recognized signature of London and the capital's most important historic and architectural focal point. Only St Paul's and the Palace of Westminster are protected by strategic views but the proposed tower disregards this legal protection and the significance of the Cathedral as the icon of London.” The West Front, which faces the heart of the City of London, is an iconic image with great national significance. It is through the famous West Doors that so many British monarchs and distinguished figures have entered the Cathedral. The nation’s “best-loved” church, St Paul’s has hosted some of the most important commemorative events in British history. In recent years the memorial service for the victims of 9/11, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday. Also, it was where the funeral services of Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, and Winston Churchi...

... middle of paper ...

...rchitecture into the early neo-classical/ baroque style. Wren’s style was one of simple magnificence. His style was composed more of in agreeable proportions rather than glorious decoration. Wren was believed to have contributed design ideas for many buildings for which he did not do final designs. Wren’s design concepts were carried into the early years of the eighteenth century by fellow architects, Hawksmoor, and his partner Vanbrugh. However, Wren’s relative simplicity, and his “Protestant plainness” in comparison with European “Popish” richness, was dominated in their designs by superimpose of rich applied decoration and a more complex and extravagant style.

His greatest renown was for St. Paul’s Cathedral, but his major public buildings, and the delicacy and variety displayed in the fifty-or-so parish churches, also contribute to his enduring influence in architecture down to the present day.

Until the arrival of the modern skyscraper, St. Paul's dominated the London skyline as a symbol of the stability of the Church of England and English government and society. When Sir Christopher Wren died in 1723 he became the first person to be buried in St. Paul's Cathedral.
Get Access