Cabbie’s Curios: Old St Paul’s

This post is the first in a new series, in which I shall be sharing quick snippets of London trivia. I’ll begin with one of London’s most iconic and beloved landmarks; St Paul’s Cathedral.

St Paul’s as it stands today was completed by the genius, Sir Christopher Wren, in 1710. However, it is not the first cathedral to stand on this site. Prior to the current St Paul’s, there were four previous places of worship on this site.

The previous St Paul’s Cathedral was destroyed during the Great Fire of 1666. Opened in 1314, it was an immense, wooden structure… even bigger than the one which we know and love today!

‘Old’ St Paul’s Cathedral

To give you an idea of its size, Sir Christopher Wren’s design is 365 feet tall (one foot for each day of the year). The old St Paul’s on the other hand, was 500 feet tall!

The St Paul’s of old was also longer and wider. The front of the previous cathedral is marked today by a statue of Queen Anne, which stands beside St Paul’s Churchyard taxi rank.

This statue of Queen Anne pinpoints the front of the previous, wooden St Paul’s Cathedral

Queen Anne was on the throne at the time of the completion of the new St Paul’s Cathedral. She was a tragic figure, mother to 18 children (yes, 18); all of whom died. Bearing this in mind, it is perhaps unsurprising that she developed a fondness for alcohol, thus gaining the nickname, ‘Brandy Nan.’           

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