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Introduction (part two)

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St Paul's Cathedral (part one)

Reader, if you seek a monument, look around you', translates I the inscription above Sir Christopher Wren's tomb in St Paul's Cathedral. It is the most celebrated epitaph in London, for it refers so simply to the prodigious achievement of designing London's cathedral and of seeing it built from start to finish within one lifetime.
London`s churches & cathedrals. Introduction. (part five)

By 1850, practically no Classical churches were being built for the Church of England. Georgian ashlar in Classical dress had given way to Victorian ragstone in Gothic guise. By then, parliamentary grants for church-building were a thing of the past.


London`s churches & cathedrals. Introduction. (part four)


The great works of the Act came to an end in the 1730s. Nevertheless, many churches were rebuilt in the 18th century: on the fringes of the City, at Shoreditch, Hackney, Clerkenwell and Paddington. They tended to be in the tradition of Wren and Gibbs rather than in the grander 1711 image.
London`s churches & cathedrals. Introduction. (part three)


Victorian redevelopment and the Second World War have reduced Wren's legacy, but the City still possesses much that is of the first importance in church fabric from Wren's time. St Paul's Cathedral and the City churches were rebuilt from the proceeds of a tax on coal brought into London. By the early 1700s, when the rebuilding after the Great Fire was coming to an end, parishes outside the City looked to the coal tax as a benevolence that might be extended to them.
London`s churches & cathedrals. Introduction. (part two)
Why did mediaeval London have so many churches? The question may be asked of most old English cities - Norwich, York, Winchester - and the answer is the same in all cases, namely, that churches were founded by laypeople to serve their own small districts, and not by bishops, who would have imposed a pattern of far fewer but possibly grander churches. Salisbury is an exceptional 'bishop's city' in that sense, but most English cities in the Middle Ages had a patchwork of often tiny parishes.
London`s churches & cathedrals. Introduction. (part one)

London has grown so considerably in the past century and a half, that it is all but impossible to think of its limited compass when Queen Victoria succeeded to the throne. It seems bizarre to think of Greenwich as a detached town, or of Kilburn as a rural hamlet on the Edgware Road.