Sir Christopher Wren’s Famous creativity St Paul’s Cathedral rare photos. Christopher Wren was one of the most accomplished men of seventeenth century England. He is most noted as the architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral, but he designed a great number of other famous buildings as well. He was a well known architect at Oxford University at the time of the Great London Fire, and spent the rest of his life over-seeing the work of reconstruction of that city. In addition to his contributions to architecture, also made contributions to science and astronomy. He was a friend and associate of Isaac Newton and an important member of the European scientific community during his age.
Wren was the son of a doctor and attended Oxford University where his main interests were mathematics and science. He became a fellow soon after graduation and continued his scientific studies. He and other scholars with royalist leanings formed a society during the Commonwealth years which, after the restoration, became the Royal Society of London. Wren and Robert Boyle, among others were founding members, and later, Sir Isaac Newton was also a prominent member.
During Wren’s lifetime, architecture was a field associated with mathematics, and in about 1660 he helped design several buildings at Cambridge and Oxford University. He was in Paris studying architecture when the great London fire broke out in 1666 and destroyed much of the city. A few years later he submitted a plan for reconstruction of the city to Charles II, and although all of his plans were not followed through, he became the King’s surveyor. Wren spent much of the rest of his life supervising the design of various buildings, including fifty churches and most notably, St. Paul’s Cathedral, sepulchre of many of the greatest heroes of British history.
History of St Paul’s Cathedral
Sir Christopher Wren was a brilliant scientist and mathematician and Britain’s most famous architect. The building he designed to replace the Pre-Fire Cathedral is his masterpiece. Nine years of planning were required to ensure that the new design would meet the requirements of a working cathedral; the quire was to be the main focus for liturgical activity, a Morning Chapel was required for Morning Prayer, vestries were needed for the clergy to robe, a treasury for the church plate, a home had to be planned for the enormous organ, bell towers were essential, and the interior had to be fitted for the grandest of occasions and ceremonies. The building which Wren delivered in thirty five years fulfilled all these needs and provided a symbol for the Church of England, the renewed capital city, and the emerging empire.
Construction commenced in 1675: the process involved many highly skilled draughtsmen and craftsmen and was pursued in phases, largely dependent on the availability of funding and materials. Portland stone predominated but other types of stone were necessary as well as bricks, iron and wood. All of the building accounts, contracts and records of the rebuilding commission survive, and many original drawings. Christopher Wren lived to see the building completed: the last stone of the Cathedral’s structure was laid on 26 October 1708 by two sons named after their fathers, Christopher Wren junior and Edward Strong (the son of master mason). The first service had already been held in 1697 – a Thanksgiving for the Peace between England and France.
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. This brief history looks at just a few of the individuals and events which have shaped the history of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Foundation, Loss and Reconstruction
Reformation to Conflagration
A New Cathedral for London
Perilous Painting and Memorialising the Greats
St Paul’s in the Age of Industry
1906 to present
Strengthening the Dome and Defending the Cathedral
Royal Events and Social Reformers