Monday, 29 December 2008

St Bride's, London

Thought I'd share with you my picture of the exterior of St Bride's church in London. I discovered it when - on a crazy errand - I dragged my patient boyfriend from Smithfield to Covent Garden because characters in my 18th-century novel had walked this route and I wanted to know how long it took and what sights they would have seen along the way (it took 35 minutes and a lot of imagination). For some reason, which I forget, we were also trying to find out where the Fleet river came out, having read some fascinating stuff about it in Peter Ackroyd's London: The Biography.

Anyway, on Fleet Street we got side-tracked by this intriguing church (begun in 1673 by Sir Christopher Wren, with the spire finally completed in 1703), which is dedicated to journalists, and because we are both journalists, it seemed rude not to stop and pay our respects. Fifteen minutes browsing the wonderful interior followed. The steeple is actually the model for the traditional wedding cake, first made by a baker on Ludgate Hill in the 18th century (at 234ft it was Wren's tallest). Although my picture of the outside is pretty unimpressive, the inside is beautiful, though it's not original - sadly the interior was destroyed by a fire bomb in 1940, but rebuilt according to the designs of Godfrey Allen, Surveyor to the Fabric of St Paul's Cathedral.

Photograph © Memoirs of the Celebrated Mrs Woffington.

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