St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is world-famous and well-known for its classic beauty and architecture, will be without scaffolding for the first time since 1996 when its £40 million renovation project is completed later this month, and the public’s view of St. Christopher Wren’s masterpiece will be unobstructed once again. This massive 15-year effort, which had never been undertaken before, required a complete restoration of both the building’s interior and exterior.
What the work entailed:
The renovation of this Anglican cathedral involved cleaning approximately 150,000 blocks of white Portland stone on the building’s west front, which had been blackened and damaged through the centuries. It also included providing wheel chair access to the cathedral’s South Triforium and Whispering Galleries, and crypt, redesigning and landscaping gardens in the south churchyard, and restoring the grand organ.
Why the results are so impressive:
Cathedral officials have commented that the sculpture, carvings and mosaics—components of the buildings state-of-the-art conservation methods—which were enhanced by light flooding the cathedral—has “transformed” St. Paul’s. In addition, the American Memorial Chapel, which was built to commemorate the U.S. forces who died in World War II, was also completely cleaned and restored.
Special competition will take place:
On June 21, St. Paul’s, which endured despite the onslaught of Nazi bombs when Britain was at war with Germany, will celebrate its 300th anniversary. In honour of the event and the building’s renovations, it is sponsoring a contest in which visitors are asked to submit their favourite external photographs of the cathedral.
The cathedral holds a special place in many hearts:
St. Paul’s attracts about two million worshippers, pilgrims and visitors every year for services, tourism and certain special events, and during the long renovation period, the bells continued to ring and services were never interrupted as the work went on.