10 Interesting St Paul’s Cathedral Facts About You May Not Know

By Harshitha Jagathiesh

One of London’s top tourist attractions, St Paul’s Cathedral holds a tremendous religious and cultural significance and popularity. 

Learn about London’s iconic cathedral through its rich history, architectural superiority, and cultural importance through St Paul’s Cathedral facts.

From the iconic dome to centuries-old traditions, here is a compilation of 10 facts about St Paul’s Cathedral:

#1 The Present Day Church is not the First Cathedral on the Site

 St Paul’s Cathedral is the fourth church to stand there on the same site. 

The original church was founded by King Ethelbert of Kent in 604 AD.

The Great Fire of London destroyed the former cathedral, which led to the construction of the current building in 1666.

The St Paul’s Cathedral became open to the public in 1710.

#2 It took 35 Years to Build the Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral was built over an elaborate period of 35 years from 1675 to 1710. 

St Paul’s construction was a significant task involving over 35,000 tons of construction materials, including Portland stone.

A special tax on coal was levied to cover St Paul Cathedral’s construction cost.

#3 St Paul’s Cathedral is the Highest Point in London City

The strategic location on Ludgate Hill and the enormous height of the cathedral make St Paul’s Cathedral the highest point in the city. 

St Paul’s Cathedral’s Golden Gallery offers panoramic views of London. 

Its location and design make it a preferable venue for special events such as concerts, memorial services, educational programs, etc.

#4 The Cathedral is Built in a Restrained Baroque Style

The designs may also be classified as Gothic Revival architecture and Indo-Saracenic architecture.

The iconic west front at St. Paul’s Cathedral features impressive carvings like statues of saints and the central relief of the Conversion of St. Paul.

The intricate mosaics on St Paul’s Cathedral’s ceilings were added in the 19th century.

These intricate mosaics depict the scenes from the life of St. Paul, the Cathedral’s namesake.

The churches of Rome, particularly St. Peter’s Basilica, and the work of Italian architects such as Palladio and Bramante influenced the Cathedral’s design.

There are intricate ironwork gates at the Cathedral’s entrance that are adorned with the monogram of Queen Victoria.

There are geometric patterns and ornate decorations on the building’s interior due to the influence of the Renaissance and Baroque architectural styles. 

St Paul’s exterior is adorned with several sculptures, like the dramatic statue of St. Paul by artist Sir Francis Legatt Chantrey. 

#5 St Paul’s Cathedral’s Dome is Among the World’s Largest

At a height of 278 feet (85 meters), the St Paul’s Cathedral dome is the tallest church dome in London.

The dome has three layers: the inner and outer layers are made of masonry, while the middle layer is a brick cone structure supporting the lantern.

Sir Christopher Wren designed the dome, which has dominated London’s skyline for centuries since its construction.

St Paul’s Cathedral’s iconic dome has inspired various famous domes, including the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

#6 His Majesty King Charles III and Late Princess Diana got Married Here

The dome has hosted several historical events, both good and bad.

St Paul’s Cathedral was the wedding venue of His Majesty King Charles III and the late Princess Diana.

The Duke of Wellington’s funeral was held here in 1852, and it was one of the grandest events in the cathedral’s history.

The funeral mentioned above had over 12,000 people in attendance.

Martin Luther King Jr. gave a sermon in 1964 at the St Paul’s Cathedral.

#7 There is a Hidden Whispering Gallery in the Church

The St Paul’s Cathedral has a famous and unique Whispering Gallery that you should visit. 

The Whispering Gallery inside the dome can transmit even the quietest whisper across the dome. 

St Paul’s Cathedral’s dome’s design allows sound to carry very well and creates the unique acoustics of the Whispering Gallery. 

The sounds or the quietest whispers can be heard clearly from the other side of the Gallery in the Whispering Gallery.

#8 The Architect of the Cathedral Was the First to be Buried in its Tombs

Sir Christopher Wren, the architect who designed St. Paul’s Cathedral, was the first person to be buried there. 

He passed away in 1723 and was laid to rest in the cathedral he created, making him the first of many influential people buried there. 

His tomb has a Latin inscription, ‘If you seek his monument, look around.’

#9 St Paul’s Cathedral has Inspired Various Artists and Even Movies

St. Paul’s Cathedral has inspired artists and moviemakers from all over the world. 

Famous artists like Canaletto, Daubigny, Signac, and Derain have painted it, showing its impact since it was built. 

The Cathedral has also appeared in many movies. It’s featured in films like ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’ ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,’ ‘Sherlock Holmes,’ and ‘Thor: The Dark World’. 

Its appearances in these movies prove it’s a well-known symbol of British culture.

#10 St Paul’s Cathedral is More Than a Church

St Paul’s Cathedral is important in preserving the rich cultural history and knowledge.

The library and archives at the Cathedral house a vast and precious collection of rare books, manuscripts, and historical records, offering insights into its past.

FAQs About St Paul’s Cathedral

1. When was St Paul’s Cathedral built?

The construction of St Paul’s Cathedral started in 1675 after the original one was burned down in the Great Fire of 1666.

After 35 years of construction, St. Paul’s Cathedral was completed in 1710.

2. What was the effect of the Great Fire of London on the original St Paul’s Cathedral?

The original St Paul’s Cathedral was burned down and ruined in the Great Fire of London.

This led to the need for reconstruction and paved the way for constructing a new building.

3. What is the architectural style of St Paul’s Cathedral?

The architectural style of St Paul’s Cathedral encompasses various styles. 

Intricate works are visible in several parts of the cathedral, but the architectural style may be mainly classified as Gothic revival architecture and Indo-Saracenic.

It is also called English Baroque architecture due to the elements of Baroque works visible in the building.

4. What is the purpose of St Paul’s Cathedral?

St Paul’s Cathedral has been an Anglican Church since the 16th century.

People often go there to pray and worship.

5. Is St Paul’s Cathedral a religious place or a tourist spot?

While St Paul’s Cathedral attracts many tourists due to its rich history, the cathedral is essentially a religious place.

It is still an Anglican church.

6. How can I get the best views from St Paul’s Cathedral?

Climb the top of St Paul’s Cathedral to get the best views of London.

7. Can I worship at the St Paul’s Cathedral?

The Cathedral is an Anglican Church and people often go there for services.

People of all faiths are welcome to the St Paul’s Cathedral.

Visitors can also read the guidelines if they are first-time visitors.

8. How many steps must I take to reach the top of St Paul’s Cathedral?

Visitors must take around 500 to 600 steps to reach the top of the cathedral.

9. Why is the Whispering Gallery so famous in St Paul’s Cathedral?

The Whispering Gallery is famous for its unique acoustics, allowing visitors to hear whispers on the opposite side.

10. Who got married at St Paul’s Cathedral?

King Charles III and Princess Diana married at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Image: Matthew Waring on Unsplash

About the author

Harshitha’s heart lies where greeny mountains meet stretches of beach. She believes getting lost is the best way to explore