St Paul’s Cathedral is certainly an icon of London. The images of the great dome standing above the smoke of WWII is certainly one that will live in our collective conscious for years to come. Officially the Cathedral Church of Paul the Apostle, the church is at least the 5th St Paul’s to sit on this site. The first according to Bede was built in 604 AD.
This photo was taken from the pedestrian bridge that connects Bankside with the City of London. It’s taken at a very shallow depth of field in order to accomplish the dreamy feel of this image. The only thing in focus at all is the dome and the mass of humanity before it become little more than a blur. This church was built after the last was destroyed by the great fire in 1666. The fire leveled the city but remarkably took no human life. The fire shaped everything about the city we know today, built in stone to lower the risk of fire consuming it. The dome was a point of much debate. The architect, the renowned Sir Christopher Wren was determined that the new St Paul’s would have a dome like St. Peter’s in Rome. Several iterations of the design were rejected before Wren decided not to show any more models to the public for criticism. When it was completed in 1708, some loved it, some hated it, and others couldn’t care either way. Today it’s hard to imagine the sky line of the old city without it.
Another picture of St. Paul’s From Bankside. The view is much changed since WWII. The buildings adjacent to the Thames were destroyed in the war and newer generations of buildings have grown up between the River and the cathedral. And more recently, the millennium bridge was built as a pedestrian walkway to connect the City of London with Bankside on opposite sides of the River Thames. London as a city has never gotten stuck in a particular style. As a growing metropolis, new and exciting architecture is always fighting for space beside the classics. Much as the classics, these are sometimes met with mixed reactions. When the Millennium bridge was completed in 2000, there was a noticeable wobble and the bridge was closed, repaired and reopened in 2002. This led to its nickname The Wobbly Bridge.
And yes, one more photo of that beautiful cathedral and the Millennium Bridge – you can tell I really like this view and architecture can’t you?
To see more of London and Great Britain, please check out my Britain Prints Gallery.