on August 30, 2011
It’s a fair old climb up to the top of St Paul’s but the end result is well worth the effort. The cost is included in the admission price to the Cathedral. All four of us took the 257 steps up to the whispering gallery. We’re still well under the dome but at 30 metres up from the cathedral floor there’s a pretty good view down into the church and you can get a decent close up view of the dome’s mosaic. Not for those with issues over height and both our wives stood well to the side of the gallery. They’d done better than we thought they’d do to make it up to here and I whispered across the width of the dome that they’d "done well". The gallery’s reputation was to be confirmed as the whispered back to me and I could hear their comments and giggles as they realised that I too could hear them. I wonder if Wren had realised the quirky nature of the dome and the gallery when he built it? ng the limb 259 steps up the dome and you will find The Whispering Gallery, which runs around the interior of the Dome. It gets its name from a charming quirk in its construction, which makes a whisper against its walls audible on the opposite side.After not too intense negotiations my friend and I agreed that we’d carry on upwards whilst our wives returned to the ground floor. Another climb of 376 steps takes us up to the Stone Gallery which is 53 metres from ground level. We’re still lower than the inner dome but as this gallery is outside of the dome we get some decent views across the city of London. But don’t stop here... The next climb of 528 steps take us up to The Golden Gallery. This is the smallest of the galleries and from here we got superb views . We’re now at 85 metres above the ground and the small gallery places us above the highest point of the outer dome, The view stretch as far as The Barbican and Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, the millennium Bridge over to the London Eye and the graceful arch of Wembley Stadium. We can clearly see the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, the infamous "Gherkin", the iconic telecom tower. The climb was well worth the effort and of course from her we could gaze upward to the very top of St Paul’s.Apparently the very top of the cross is 365 feet from ground level and I’m sure that isn’t a coincidence. Although I’m really not sure why Wren would want to build the cathedral to the height of the number of days in a year.Of course now we had to walk back down. Still we’d be well rewarded for our efforts. We pondered on our way down about the small fossils we’d see in some of the outside blocks in the galleries, realised that it was the inner dome that carries the intricate painting and mosaics and the outer dome that’s the well-known landmark in London, and expressed our surprise that the golden ball on the top of the dome is six feet in diameter. Dimensions are all important when erecting a building that needs to be viewed from all levels and having looked at St Paul’s from top to bottom I’m sure that Wren got it right.
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