St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral is a London landmark and a British icon.

A cathedral dedicated to St Paul has overlooked the City of London since 604 A.D. In 2004, the Diocese of London celebrated its 1,400th anniversary.

The current cathedral, the fourth to occupy the Ludgate Hill site, was designed by court architect Sir Christopher Wren. It was built between 1675 and 1710 after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.

St Paul's is built of Portland stone in a late Renaissance to baroque style. Its impressive dome, inspired by St Peter's Basilica in Rome, is the third largest in the world. It rises 108 metres (365 feet) to the cross at its summit.

People and events of the utmost importance to the country have been celebrated, mourned and commemorated at St Paul's since the first service took place in 1697. Significant events and services in St Paul's 20th century history include:

1901: A memorial service for Queen Victoria, held at the same time as her burial took place at Windsor.

1935: King George V's Silver Jubilee service.

1939: The St Paul's Fire Watch is re-formed to help City firemen fight the first incendiary bombs of the Second World War.

1940: The cathedral is a target during the Blitz.

1944: The cathedral bells, silent earlier in the war, ring out to celebrate the liberation of Paris.

1945: Ten simple services are held to mark V.E. Day, the end of the war in Europe. An estimated 35,000 people attend.

1951: King George VI opens the Festival of Britain from St Paul's.

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