The dedication ceremony for the newly rebuilt St. Paul's Cathedral was held in London on this day in 1697. A church had stood on Ludgate Hill since the seventh century and a magnificent medieval cathedral was built there in 1087, twenty years after the Norman conquest. But this medieval cathedral was destroyed by the Great Fire that swept through London in September 1666.
The royal architect Christopher Wren was chosen to design the new cathedral--and his baroque and classical design was stunning with a main aisle of more than 150 yards and a dome soaring 366 feet above it. Construction began on June 21, 1675. Dedication ceremonies were held over twenty years later.
The church quickly became a London landmark. Many famous Britons were buried there in the years that followed, including the Duke of Wellington, Lord Nelson, and Sir Christopher Wren himself. During the Second World War, during the Nazi Blitz, the dome of St. Paul's towering through the haze was a beacon of hope and a comfort to the embattled population of London.
It remains one of the greatest architectural achievements of all time. Oh, how I love to visit it when I am in London.