Friday, 6 September 2013

St Paul's Cathedral

Today we went to see St Paul's Cathedral with its world-famous dome, an iconic feature of the London skyline. With an awe-inspiring interior with domes decorated in mosaic glass. We climbed the 257 stairs up to the dome to the Whispering Gallery 30 mtrs above where a whisper on one side can be heard clearly 100 feet away. Kevin then climbed 271 more steps and reach the Golden Gallery at the very top of the dome where he enjoyed breathtaking panoramic views across London. We also went underground and explored the Cathedral’s foremost burial place. In the crypt lie some of the nation’s heroes including the Cathedral’s architect Sir Christopher Wren as well as the magnificent tombs of Admiral Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. For more than one thousand four hundred years, a cathedral dedicated to St Paul has stood at the highest point in the City. Frequently at the centre of national events, traditions have been observed here and radical new ideas have found expression under the iconic dome. In many cases these events have left some physical record as well as echoes in the intangible memory of the building. The present Cathedral, the masterpiece of Britain's most famous architect Sir Christopher Wren, is at least the fourth to have stood on the site. It was built between 1675 and 1710, after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London, and services began in 1697. This was the first cathedral to be built after the English Reformation in the sixteenth-century, when Henry VIII removed the Church of England from the jurisdiction of the Pope and the Crown took control of the life of the church. The three hundred year old building is therefore a relative newcomer to a site which has witnessed Christian Worship for over one thousand four hundred years. It is also famous for the royal wedding of the Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.

The Nave of St Paul's Cathedral

The Quire

The Temple of the Stag Goddess, Diana built on the site of the present St. Paul's cathedral, a lunar site traditionally recognised as being ruled by the Moon Goddess and Goddess of Hunting, Diana. Consequently it has also been closely associated with the worship of the Stag and the Horned God. According to legend, as recorded by in 1136, seventy years after the Norman Conquest of England, a Welsh cleric named Geoffrey of Monmouth completed a work in Latin which he titled Historia Regum Britanniae, or History of the Kings of Britain. This a detailed narrative which begins with the Trojan diaspora which followed the fall of Troy. Geoffrey said that King Brutus (who gave his name to Britain), was guided by the goddess Diana to lead Britain's first inhabitants to the island, arriving around 1100 BC. Thus, it is worth speculating whether Brutus (Brwth) himself was connected with the Pagan site which once stood on St. Paul's Cathedral.

The site is also connected with the King Lud, who gave his name to the present day Ludgate Circus and Ludgate Hill, on on which St. Paul's Cathedral stands. Heli (Beli Mawr in the Welsh) in about the year 113 BC. Lud, the son of Heli (Beli Mawr), became King in 73 BC. Lud rebuilt the city of London that King Brutus had founded and had named New Troy, and renamed it Caerlud, the city of Lud, after his own name The name of the city was later corrupted to Caerlundein, which the Romans took up as Londinium, hence London. At his death, Lud was buried in an entrance to the city that still bears his name, Ludgate.

The destruction of the Pagan temple at Ludgate Hill happened in 597 AD, when this sacred site of the Celtic Britons had the first St. Paul's Cathedral on Ludgate Hill bulit by the Saxon King Aethelbert of Kent. However, after Aethelbert and one of his subordinate Kings Saeberht of Essex both died in 616 AD, the people of London reverted back to Paganism, and leading Christian clerics such as Mellitus where forced to flee the city. It would be another fifty years before Christianity once more took hold meaning that London was a Pagan city up until the 7th century AD.

Apparently when the building of the present St. Paul's cathedral began in 1675, architect Sir Christopher Wren, discovered remains of the Stag Goddess temple in the foundations of the previous Cathedral destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666.

Kevin's photos from the dome

We then walked to Guildhall, built between 1411 and 1440, which has been the City powerhouse since the twelfth century. In an era when the Lord Mayor of London rivalled the monarch for influence and prestige, this was where he and the ruling merchant class held court, fine-tuned the laws and trading regulations that helped create London’s wealth.

Today, 800 years on, Guildhall is still home of the City of London Corporation, and acts as a grand setting for glittering banquets in honour of visiting Heads of State and other dignitaries, royal occasions, and receptions for major historical anniversaries.

St Lawrence Jewry is the official church of the Lord Mayor of London and the City of London Corporation and stands in the Yard of the Guildhall. It was re-built by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of 1666, but there has been a church on the site for around 900 years. After extensive damage in the Second World War, it was again re-built.

The way they handle the traffic in central London is to only have taxi's, buses and delivery vans etc in the inner city

The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom. Sometimes known as the “Old Lady” of Threadneedle Street, the Bank was founded in 1694, nationalised on 1 March 1946, and in 1997 gained operational independence to set monetary policy.

The financial crisis demonstrated the need for a new approach to financial regulation and major changes to the Bank came into force in April 2013. The Financial Services Act 2012 established an independent Financial Policy Committee (FPC), a new prudential regulator as a subsidiary of the Bank, and created new responsibilities for the supervision of financial market infrastructure providers.

The Royal Exchange in London was founded in 1568 by Thomas Gresham to act as a centre of commerce for the City of London. The Royal Exchange was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth I who awarded the building its royal title and licence to sell alcohol, on 23 January 1571. During the 17th century, stockbrokers were not allowed in the Royal Exchange because of their rude manners, hence they had to operate from other establishments in the vicinity, such as Jonathan's Coffee-House. Gresham's original building was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. A second exchange was built on the site, designed by Edward Jarman, and opened in 1669, but was also destroyed by fire on 10 January 1838. The third Royal Exchange building, which still stands today, was designed by William Tite and adheres to the original layout - consisting of a four-sided structure surrounding a central courtyard where merchants and tradesmen could do business.

St. Mary Woolnoth is an Anglican church in the City of London, located on the corner of Lombard Street and King William Street near Bank junction. The present building is one of the Queen Anne Churches, designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor. The church's site has been used for worship for at least 2,000 years; traces of Roman and pagan religious buildings have been discovered under the foundations of the present church, along with the remains of an Anglo-Saxon wooden structure.

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