Monday, 13 July 2009

St. Paul's Cathedral

Our class met this morning, and we were instructed on how to create blogs. Believe it or not, this is my first experience blogging. I have read others' blogs, but I have never blogged myself. I am glad to take advantage of the opportunity and have this trip as my blogging guinea pig. I am always willing to try new technology, and so far this has been a fun way to document and share a personal experience. I will keep you "posted" with how it goes! How? Through blog "posts!"

A group of us went early to St. Paul's Cathedral and had lunch at the cafe inside. I had a nice piece of quiche. We went to the gift shop where I bought a gift for my friend who is religious. Then, we walked outside in the area and heard a girls choir from Maine. Their voices were harmonious and spiritual, perhaps heavenly. We met up with the rest of the group, and Professor Welsh pointed Temple Bar. This was the only surviving gate into the city of London. It was named "bar" because it used to have a bar to keep people out of the city. It was relocated from where it had previously been standing in Medieval times. The middle was larger for carts, and the two smaller sides were for pedestrians.

Our tour of the Library was led by Joe Wisdom. We walked up a winding staircase made famous by the Harry Potter films. St. Paul's Cathedral Library was originally supposed to be housed in a room entirely different from the room in which it was housed today. In that other room sits a large model of a plan for the Cathedral designed by Sir Christopher Wren and other architectural information. The library is not shown on a public tour and has a wonderful fragrance of historic books. The room was the same size as the previous room Mr. Wisdom had shown us, but it looked much smaller with all the books. The library had a wonderful smell of old books. He described the vaulted ceiling as a tent for ideas to float. The carved columns was created by Sir Christopher Kempster, master craftsman from Burford. They are full of symbolism. He pointed out books, a skull, wheat, and grapes. The book symbolizes learning. The grapes and wheat symbolize holy communion and Christ. That they surround the skull symbolizes Christ's triumph over death. Mr. Wisdom commented that today we have all the information at instant access, but cannot annalyze it as much, and back then, perhaps the reverse was true. In 1666, they had a fire and lost the library. A painting of a bishop with inflated sleeves is hung porminently on the wall. He left 2000 books to the library when he died. The collection is also made up of other donations of collections. Joe Wisdom pointed out that the duplicates were discarded, although there is no such thing as a duplicate for these early materials. The library comtains materials on topics such as bible, theology, history, geography, sermons, genealogy, and lives of saints. Items can be found in English, Latin, French, Russian, Greek, and Icelandic. Joe Wisdom's advice was to mark your own books, but not the books in your care.

This picture is from the Library's website as no photos were allowed to be taken inside the library:

I felt so priviledged to be experiencing history; St. Paul's is open to the public, but only few come to the library. This was our first library visit, and we were surrounded by historic books from all over the world. We kept on asking the librarian more and more questions, possibly because we were so interested. I can't wait for the other visits!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting !!

    Show me the photos of the Cathedral later.. I wish I could be there...