Sunday, 14 November 2010

St Paul’s……and One New Change, Revisited

Yesterday I visited St Paul’s Cathedral, which was allowing free entry as part of the celebration of the Lord Mayors Show. In a former post, I complained about being charged for entry whilst, at the same time being denied permission to take photographs here. With the exception of the Whispering Gallery, photo denial had been suspended for the day, which made me very happy. The day was also enlivened by several recitals of Peter and the Wolf narrated by Jo Brand to a very appreciative audience.

I’m not sure what the problem was in the Whispering Gallery. Perhaps they thought we would be so overcome by the view that we would throw ourselves, or our cameras, over the guard rail, thereby spoiling the day for some, or livening it up for others. Whatever the reason, it was heavily policed by the red coated guardians, one of whom even suggested that I might like to desist from texting until I was back outside the building!

Although we were denied access to the Golden Gallery, the Cathedral’s highest viewpoint, we were allowed up to the Stone Gallery, which encircles the base of the Dome. Despite it being a generally gloomy day, the views from there are breathtaking (quite literally, for the less fit amongst us!). And well worth the effort. There is, however, a fly in the ointment. Looking to the East, you find your self gazing down on the building that calls itself One New Change.

I have said before that I do not like this building here, I can now confirm, that it looks even worse from above than it does from ground level. Uncompromisingly ugly and with no symmetry or grace. It has been suggested that it’s two pronged ground plan is an open legged gesture, flashing it’s private parts to it’s surroundings. Or perhaps it’s a cuckold gesture relating to it’s relationship with the City and the Church. To me, it just seems to be sticking up two fingers to all of us. Perhaps it's just an elaborate and very expensive joke. Whatever.  It really should not be there.

Enough of all that, I think. I was pleased to visit St Paul’s again, It is a beautiful building and, niggles aside, should be seen by everyone.


  1. Perhaps photo taking wasn't allowed in the Whispering Gallery because the sound of all the clicking shutters would magnify and reverberate around, causing people to go mad and then throw themselves over the railing.

  2. That could be it :-)
    I bumped into Maggie while I was up about a small world!