Esoteric London

No. 329: Bankside, SE1

Posted in Architectural, Churches by esotericlondon on June 2, 2011

Bankside, London, SE1. Photo © Roger Dean 2011

Dickens’s Dictionary of London – Charles Dickens (Jr.), 1879:

In 1083, and again 1137, St. Paul’s suffered from fire and in the Great Fire the cathedral was totally destroyed. In 1673 Sir Christopher Wren was employed to build a new edifice, and years later the present St. Paul was completed. Looked at from the outside the cathedral is truly imposing. The upper portion of a composite order of architecture; the lower one Corinthian. Built in the form of a cross, an immense dome rises on eight arches over the centre. Over the dome is a gallery, and above the gallery is the ball and the gilded cross, the top of which is 404 feet from the pavement beneath.

[‘Here lived Sir Christopher Wren during the building of St Paul’s Cathedral’ proclaims a ceramic plaque upon the exterior wall of 49 Bankside, pictured above. It goes on to state that ‘Here also, in 1502 Catherine, Infanta of Castille and Aragon, afterwards first Queen of Henry VIII took shelter on her first landing in London’. However, both are highly unlikely according to Gillian Tindall in her book The House by the Thames and the People who Lived There, as the house was built about 1710, the year in which Wren completed St Pauls, and future queens do not make a habit of staying in waterfront inns. Tindall suggests it is more likely that the plaque stood on a house a few doors down and was placed on number 49 in the 1940’s. R.D.]

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