Tuesday, 27th June, 2023

The Docklands Light Railway can function without a driver! We have noticed that there is now a member of staff on board each train who is acting much like a guard.

Today we attended a Service at St Paul's Cathedral commemorating the 300th anniversary of the death of Sir Christopher Wren. So did the Bishop of London, the Lord Mayor of London, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and many other dignitaries. There were also representatives of The Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors, The Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects, The Worshipful Company of Constructors, The Worshipful Company of Paviors, and The Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers. As far as we could tell, the Cathedral was full! There was a fanfare for the arrival of the Duke and Duchess and then the choir sang "Blessed City, Heavenly Salem" by Bairstow as an introit. The anthems "Locus Iste" by Bruckner and "Give Ear Unto the Lord" by Elgar were part of the service too.

The Service included stories about Wren read by members of the aforesaid companies interspersed with portions of psalms (relevant to the stories) sung to Anglican Chant by the Cathedral Choir. There were Bible readings and prayers. The service concluded with Gordon Jacob's arrangement of the National Anthem. All aspects of the service were "spot on"!

After lunch at a nearby "Caffé Nero", we returned to St Paul's as "visitors". The number of other people doing the same thing was quite amazing - literally hundreds. It was quite difficult to take photos without people in them!

This altar frontal was made in 1897.  Frontals of different colours are used for each season in the Christian church calendar and each colour has its own meaning. This frontal is predominantly red, a colour associated with the Holy Spirit, the Passion of Jesus and Martyrdom. Red vestments and textiles are used in St Paul's Cathedral during Holy Week (the week before Easter), for the Day of Pentecost, for Feasts of Martyrs and during the Kingdom Season (which lasts from the Feast of All Saints until Advent).

Detail of above

Looking up into the central dome

The Nave Altar, looking east

The Quire

Looking up at a chandelier

The Quire Gates were made by Jean Tijou in 1700. The topmost section, with the candle holders was added in Victorian times

A "green man" (detail of above)

The High Altar

From the High Altar, looking west

The Bishop of London's Throne

Part of the ceiling in the Quire (it was not until the 19th century that all the colourful mosaics and gilding were added to the cathedral.

Part of the Organ Case. It was originally on a screen in the Quire but was divided into two as it is today in 1870. The case was designed by Wren

Satoshi ventured up the 551 steps to the outside of the dome.

It was quite a view from up there!

Satoshi's "selfie"!

The detail in all the mosaics is really quite stunning.

There are a large number of memorials and monuments in the crypt. Below are some that I found interesting.

Unlike Westminster Abbey, most of the memorials and monuments in St Paul's are to be found in the crypt. This one is a memorial to Randolph Caldecott. The Caldecott Medal (for children's books) is named in honour of him.

Bishop Reginald Heber. The inscription reads:
To the memory of
Reginald Heber,D.D. Lord bishop of Calcutta,
This monument was erected by those who loved and admired him.
His character exhibited a rare union
Of fervent zeal with universal tolerance.
Of brilliant talent with sober judgment
And was especially distinguished by Christian humility
Which no applause could disturb, no success abate.
He cheerfully resigned prospects of eminence at home, in order to become the chief missionary of Christianity in the east:
And having in the short space of three years
Visited the greater part of india
And conciliated the affection and veneration
Of men of every class of religion,
He was there summoned to receive the reward of his labours
In the 43rd Year of his age in 1826

Bishop Heber was also a hymn writer. Of the 57 he wrote, "Holy, Holy, Holy" and "Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning" are the most well-known these days.

The composer John Goss is probably best remembered for the tune usually sung to "Praise My Soul the King of Heaven". The incsription reads (in part):
His genius & skill are shewn in the various compositions with which he has enriched the Music of the Church. His virtues & kindness of heart endeared him to his pupils and friends who have erected this Monument in token of their admiration & esteem." The music is a quote from his anthem "If We believe that Jesus Died"

The monument in memory of Florence Nightingale

Tomb of Horatio Nelson

Sir Arthur Sullivan wrote light operas in conjunction with W S Gilbert. He wrote the tune "St Gertrude" commonly sung to the hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers".

Ivor Novello (1893 – 1951) was a Welsh actor, dramatist, singer and composer who became one of the most popular British entertainers of the first half of the 20th century.(Not the same person as Vincent Novello the publisher)


My favourite part of the above.

The Pulpit

Another amazing memorial - this one to Horatio Nelson

My favourite part of the above!

Looking up at a chandelier

Looking up at the west door to the State Trumpet organ pipes which were added in 1977.

The Font (You can get an idea of the number of people from the background of this photo!)

Another memorial (this one is for Sir Ralph Abercromby). It was the skill of the sculptor that caught my eye. Look at the horse and the people!

These life-size angels were amazing too!

From St Paul's, we went to Westminster Abbey for 5:00pm Evensong. Arriving at 4:30pm, I thought we would be quite close the the front of the line. Nope! There were many people already in the line. In fact, we were so far back that we couldn't see the choir at all. The sound was still great though. The music was "O Lord, Increase My Faith" by Henry Loosemore, the responses by Morley, the Ireland in F canticles and the anthem "Ave Maria" by Parsons. The standard of all the music was superb. Counting the number of people in each row, the number of rows on our "side" and doubling the total suggested that about 600 people attended Evensong!

We then made our way towards the County Hall. As the local restaurants were too expensive (eg $40 for lasagne), we opted for Subway. Even there the bill was about $50! After dinner, we attended a performance of Agatha Christie's play "Witness for the Prosecution" which took place in the old Council Chamber, standing in for the Old Bailey. This was another excellent performance. I went in feeling a bit smug as I have seen two movie versions of this story and I thought I knew "whodunnit". That was my second "Nope"! They had added an additional twist! It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening's entertainment.

We met The South Gate Lion on the way to County Hall

Detail of above (It was a very "liony" day really!)

The interior of the County Hall, as set for the play "Witness for the Prosecution"

The seats look comfortable but they were not!

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