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St Paul's Cathedral Facts - Top 8 Fun Facts You Must Know

With a height of 365 ft., St. Paul's Cathedral decorated the London skyline for many centuries in the past. Even to this day, the Golden Gallery allows you to enjoy some of the most beautiful panoramic views of London that is most definitely worth the feat of climbing 528 steps for. St Paul's Cathedral is also where Lady Diana and Prince Charles took their wedding vows. Here are some other interesting facts about St Paul's Cathedral that you may not be aware of!

Top 8 St. Paul's Cathedral facts

A bomb blast attempt at Cathedral in 1914

In 1914, suffragettes aimed to bomb St. Paul's Cathedral in London, targeting the Bishop's throne with a powerful explosive device housed in a can of mustard. Thankfully, it was discovered before detonation, it could have caused significant damage. Their violent methods, including arson, were controversial, though their cause for women's suffrage was just. 

Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a sermon at the church

In 1964, St. Paul's Cathedral in London hosted a historic sermon by Martin Luther King Jr., attended by over three thousand people. His address emphasized the intersection of race and faith, highlighting urgent racial issues in the UK. King's visit underscored the cathedral's role as a platform for progressive discourse, extending beyond religious boundaries to advocate for social justice.

Secrets for the architecture enthusiasts

The Cathedral holds several architectural secrets crafted by Sir Christopher Wren to awe visitors. Optical illusions, such as progressively larger columns and decorations, create a grander appearance. Hidden staircases and passages, like those accessing the Whispering Gallery and library, are ingeniously integrated into the structure.

An ode to Nelson's peculiarities

St. Paul's Cathedral boasts an intriguing detail in John Flaxman's statue of Admiral Nelson: a seasick lion. Carved in the 1870s, the statue honors Nelson's victories, with the lion symbolizing his struggle with seasickness. This whimsical addition adds depth to the sculpture, showcasing Flaxman's artistry and attention to detail.

Sculpture that survived the Great Fire of 1666

The effigy of John Donne in St. Paul's Cathedral's Dean's Aisle is a rare relic of the Great Fire of London, surviving the inferno intact. Scorch marks at its base bear witness to the flames' fury, offering a haunting glimpse into history. This enduring sculpture stands as a poignant symbol of resilience amidst adversity.

Cathedral's personal fire brigade during WWI

During World War I and the Blitz, the St. Paul's Watch, comprising over 300 volunteers, acted as the cathedral's fire brigade. Led by Mr. Walter Godfrey Allen and Dean Walter Matthews, they bravely defended St. Paul's from incendiary bombs. Their heroic efforts during heavy bombing raids, like that of December 29, 1940, prevented significant damage to the cathedral, securing its survival.

Being buried in the Cathedral is the highest honor in London

Burial or funeral rites at St. Paul's Cathedral represent one of the highest national honors in the UK. Notable figures interred here include Winston Churchill, whose state funeral in 1965 drew over 3,500 attendees. The cathedral's crypt also holds the remains of Florence Nightingale, Alexander Fleming, Sir Christopher Wren, and Admiral Lord Nelson.

The Cathedral has been the backdrop to many artists & filmmakers

St Paul's Cathedral has been an inspiration to artists and filmmakers worldwide. It was displayed in the artworks by famous artists including Canaletto, Daubigny, Signac and Derain. St Paul's Cathedral has also been featured in iconic movies such as the Harry Potter series, Sherlock Holmes, Thor and many more, creating unforgettable magic on screen.

Some technical facts about St. Paul's Cathedral

All about the church
All about the bells
  • Cathedral Length: 518 ft., 158 m
  • Nave Width: 121 ft., 37 m
  • Width Across Transepts: 246 ft., 75 m
  • Cathedral Height: 365 ft., 111 m
  • Outer Dome Height: 278 ft., 85 m
  • Inner Dome Height: 225 ft., 69 m
  • Outer Dome Diameter: 112 ft., 34 m
  • Inner Dome Diameter: 102 ft., 31 m
  • Dome Weight: 65,000 tons
  • Number of Towers: 2
  • Tower Height: 221 ft., 67 m
  • Bell 1: Weight - 421 kg; Note - F
  • Bell 2: Weight - 466 kg; Note - E♭
  • Bell 3: Weight - 501 kg; Note - D
  • Bell 4: Weight - 594 kg; Note - C
  • Bell 5: Weight - 673 kg; Note - B♭
  • Bell 6: Weight - 692 kg; Note - A
  • Bell 7: Weight - 834 kg; Note - G
  • Bell 8: Weight - 1113 kg; Note - F
  • Bell 9: Weight - 1394 kg; Note - E♭
  • Bell 10: Weight - 1521 kg; Note - D
  • Bell 11: Weight - 2210 kg; Note - C
  • Bell 12: Weight - 3130 kg; Note - B♭
  • Clock Bell 1: Weight - 639 kg; Note - A♭
  • Clock Bell 2: Weight - 1256 kg; Note - E♭
  • Clock Bell 3: Weight - 5205 kg; Note - A♭
  • Bourdon Bell: Weight - 17002 kg; Note - E♭
  • Communion Bell: Weight - 952 kg; Note - E♭



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Frequently Asked Questions about St. Paul's Cathedral facts

How old is St. Paul's Cathedral?

The church is approximately 314 years old.

How many times has St. Paul's Cathedral been reconstructed?

St Paul's Cathedral has been destroyed 3 times in its history. The current building is the 4th building.

What happened to Old St. Paul's Cathedral?

After the Dissolution of Monasteries, Old St Paul's Cathedral was in a state of decline. The spire collapsed in 1561 and the Great Fire of 1666 left the old cathedral nearly destroyed, after which it was proposed to reconstruct the building under Wren's supervision.

How many bells are there in St. Paul's Cathedral?

St. Paul's Cathedral houses a ring of 12 bells, with the largest one named "Great Paul."

How many burials are there in St. Paul's Cathedral?

Over 200 memorials and burials are located inside St. Paul's Cathedral, including those of prominent figures like Sir Christopher Wren and Admiral Lord Nelson.