With his chaste designs
    On classical lines,
    His elegant curves and neat inclines.
    For all day long he’d measure and limn
    Till the ink gave out or the light grew dim …
Hugh Chesterton, ‘London Calling Christopher Wren’
A few photos in honour of Sir Christopher Wren, born 382 years ago today.
49 Bankside, Cardinal’s Wharf.
Photo by EP

It is said that Christopher Wren stayed here so that he could have an overview of the City of London and of the church spires and towers and the dome of St Paul’s rising above the houses as London was rebuilt after the Great Fire – a claim now challenged. It is also said that, in an earlier house on this site, Catherine of Aragon rested before she went up the Thames to meet her husband-to-be, Henry VIII.

Photo by EP
The dome of St Paul’s Cathedral, designed by Christopher Wren. 
Photo by EP
Speaking of Henry VIII, in 1546 he founded Christ Church College, Oxford and 135 years later Wren designed the college’s famous bell tower. ‘Great Tom’ is still sounded 101 times each night at 21:05 ‘Oxford time’, i.e. five minutes past 21:00 GMT, the time when the original 101 students were called back for curfew.
Tom Tower, Christ Church College, Oxford
Photo by Kathleen Riley
The roof in the foreground is part of Christ Church Cathedral School, birthplace in 1893 of Dorothy L. Sayers whose Lord Peter Wimsey proposed (finally and successfully) to Harriet Vane in the shadow of Wren’s Sheldonian Theatre – and with the very word uttered for centuries inside the Sheldonian, ‘Placetne?’
  • Ruth Wood

    and the proposal was answered in English in the tv version – when I first read the novel, I had to wait for my husband – who had had the fortune to study Latin at school, an opportunity denied to me – to come home so I could find out what Harriet Vane had actually said. An unintended suspense!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.