A Guided Tour in the City of London

A mixture of old and new architecture

As I was travelling to London alone this spring, I enjoyed taking part in guided walks. One was about Christopher Wren’s churches, and the other was about architecture and history of the City of London in the same area around St. Paul’s Cathedral. The way this square mile is governed is far beyond my understanding. The link above explains it.

The area around St Paul’s Cathedral was heavily bombed by the Germans during the London Blitz. Luckily the cathedral was saved by the ever-vigilant firefighters who risked their lives running up high on the dome to extinguish the fires. The architect Sir Christopher Wren built the church after the great London fire in 1666 together with other churches close by.

An angle of St. Paul's Cathedral in London

An angle of St Paul’s Cathedral in London

The front of St. Paul's Cathedral in London

The front of St Paul’s Cathedral in London

Detail from St. Paul's Cathedral

Detail from St Paul’s Cathedral

Statue of John Wesley in the churchyard of St. Paul's Cathedral

Statue of John Wesley in the churchyard of St Paul’s Cathedral. Father of Methodism 1703-1791

City of London seen from the roof of a new shopping mall "One New Change" by Nouvel

The city of London and St Paul’s Cathedral seen from the terrace roof of a new shopping mall “One New Change” by Nouvel

City of London seen from the roof a new shopping mall "One New Change" by Nouvel

City of London seen from the roof of a new shopping mall “One New Change” by Jean Nouvel

St. Paul's Cathedral seen from Jean Nouvel's new shopping centre

St Paul’s Cathedral seen from Jean Nouvel’s new shopping centre

Some are left as ruins or parks, and others are places to work and get a cup of coffee. If you like, see my mother’s pictures from 1946.

St Stephen Walbrook, an Anglican Parish Church

St Stephen Walbrook created by Christopher Wren

St Stephen Walbrook created by Cristopher Wren

St Stephen Walbrook, a Christopher Wren church from 1672

St Stephen Walbrook, a Christopher Wren church from 1672. The former church was destroyed by the great fire.

The dome of St Stephen Walbrook created by Cristopher Wren

The dome of St Stephen Walbrook created by Cristopher Wren

The Cafe at St Stephen Walbrook by Cristopher Wren

The Cafe at St Stephen Walbrook by Cristopher Wren

The tower is left from Christopher Wrens's Christ Church Greyfrier

Only the tower is left from Christopher Wrens’s Christ Church Greyfriars. The site is made into a park.

From Wikipedia

Christ Church Greyfriars, also known as Christ Church Newgate Street, was a church in Newgate Street, opposite St Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London. Established as a monastic church in the thirteenth century, it became a parish church after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Following its destruction in the Great Fire of London of 1666, it was rebuilt to the designs of Sir Christopher Wren. Except for the tower, the church was largely destroyed by bombing during the Second World War. The ruins are now a public garden.

A memorial from WWII at St. Paul's Cathedral

A memorial from WWII at St. Paul’s Cathedral

 

In the 1950s ugly new concrete buildings emerged from the bombed areas but are now nearly exchanged with modern buildings that seem to match better in the style of the old city of London.

Bloomberg Building: Workplace of the future, honouring the past

Bloomberg Building: “Workplace of the future, honouring the past.”

Bloomberg Building: Workplace of the future, honouring the past

Bloomberg Building: “Workplace of the future, honouring the past.”

In the next post, I would like to share other pictures from the area.

10 Comments »

  1. I did look at your mother’s photos. It amazes me, the difference sand-blasters make in cleaning pollution off a building, though can take its toll on the structure itself. Thank you for these. I visited London briefly while attending a seminar at Oxford but only the LSE and British Museum, nothing else.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I first visited London in 1978. There was a saying among Australians that you either loved it with a passion, or felt the opposite. I was in the opposite camp at first. Such greyness. Then, as I lived there and became more familiar, and the stonework was sandblasted, my opinion changed. But all these years later, as a “new” tourist, I would have to go through the process again.
    I loved your mother’s photos (and so little traffic). Contrasted with your recent ones, it demonstrates how these major cities are in constant change for any number of reasons, fire and bombing being extreme causes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand what you mean. In the 1970s the buildings were still black from air pollution, and the post-war building style was ugly. We could have met there in 1978 at the National Gallery. There is a bench in one of the galleries that are three connected benched or a round one. I sat there and realised that young people from all over the world sat on it at the same time

      Liked by 1 person

      • Quite possibly. Taking a long trip to England and Europe was a rite of passage for many young Australians. My original visa was five years, but Margaret Thatcher’s policies curtailed that.
        I arrived around 1st April 1978, spending some weeks in Kent and travelling frequently to London, often stopping overnight. I distinctly remember one of my favourite things was a walk in Epping Forest, finishing off with a refreshing drink in a nearby pub. Of course, I did all the “regular” tourist things too.
        Then I took off on a six week coach / camping tour to USSR and other countries “behind the iron curtain”. Our route from London took us to Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, where we crossed into what was then, Leningrad.
        Until my return to Australia at the end of 1981, I lived in London and other parts of England whenever I was not on the continent.
        I still miss the easy access to different countries, culture, cuisine and language. Turns out I had a bent for them!

        Liked by 1 person

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