The Great West Door is the main entrance on state occasions into the Cathedral and provides the central dramatic frontispiece of St Paul’s. The North Aisle Located to the left of the Great West door entrance. Areas of interest include a case containing the roll of honour of 33,000 members of the Merchant Navy who lost their lives serving in the Second World War and the monument to the Duke of Wellington by Alfred Stevens who worked on it for 20 years and was still incomplete on his death in 1875. Wellington is buried in the Crypt. The North Transept is where the font is located that dates from 1727. It is made from Italian marble.
The area under the Dome is decorated in a compass design. When the Dome was being built, Wren was hauled up in a basket two or three times a week to see how work was progressing. His son fixed the last stone in position. The Dome is among the largest in the world. It’s main structure is of Portland stone from Dorset. The Whispering Gallery is located above the arches in the dome. It is called the Whispering Gallery because a whisper against the blank circular wall can be heard on the opposite side, some 42 metres away. St Paul’s spectacular fresco paintings are best seen from this gallery. The South Transept contains tributes to national figures including the explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912) who died on the return journey from the South Pole. There is also an elaborate memorial to Admiral Horatio Viscount Nelson (1758-1805). The chief glory in the South Transept is the door case, originally part of the Choir Screen and organ gallery. In one corner of the South Transept stands the first statue to be erected in St Paul’s to the philanthropist and campaigner for prison reform, John Howard (1726-90). The Quire Forms the top of the Cathedral’s cross shape and is the most richly decorated part of the interior. This is where Wren’s workmen started building. Minor Canons’ Aisle. The
Organ Wren called the original organ a box of whistles. The organ has been divided and enlarged and improved to become the third largest organ in the country. Although modifications have been made the quality of the sound and the beauty of the decoration are one of the glories of the cathedral. Such famous composers as Handel and Mendelssohn both enjoyed playing at. The powerful trumpets, situated on the West Gallery, are also played from the organ console
The design echoes the pencil sketch of a baldacchino Wren envisaged as the focal point of his grand building. The altar is made of a slab of Italian marble, weighing nearly four tons whilst the cross stands nearly 3 metres high and the candlesticks on either side, made of gilded and lacquered bronze coins, stand 1.6 metres high. The American Memorial Chapel Is located behind the High Altar and was created as a British tribute to the 28,000 Americans based in Britain who lost their lives in the Second World War. The Chapel was dedicated in 1958 in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen and Richard Nixon, Vice-President of the United States. Dean’s Aisle The effigy of John Donne was the only figure to survive the Great Fire of 1666 intact. As the old Cathedral burned, the statue fell into the Crypt. Scorch marks can still be seen around its base. The Dean’s Aisle also contains fragments from the Holy Land including a carved piece of marble from Herod’s Temple. The South Aisle The Light of the World by Holman Hunt is the most celebrated and famous painting in the Cathedral. It shows Christ knocking at a humble door which, significantly, can only be opened from within. The artist is buried in the Crypt.
The Crypt is the largest and most impressive in Europe. Although burials no longer take place here, some 200 memorials can be seen. Much in the Crypt speaks of heroism and bravery, but overwhelmingly the tragedy of war is illustrated by the monuments contained within.
The Chapel of the Order of the British Empire honours those who have given distinguished service to their country at home or abroad. Also known as St Faith’s Chapel. Christopher Wren’s Tomb is one of the simplest in the Cathedral. Wren himself wanted no memorial.
Admiral Nelson died at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. His body was preserved in a keg of naval brandy and placed within four coffins before burial in the crypt. Wellington’s Tomb Wellington’s tomb is made of Cornish porphyritic granite supported with a block of Peterhead granite.
Many of the Cathedral’s treasures are kept here. Over the centuries much has been seized by the state or stolen in a major robbery in 1810. There are over 200 items of liturgical plate lent by churches in the London Diocese as well as the Jubilee Cope worn during the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations in 1977.
St Paul’s Cathedral shop is situated in the crypt. It has a wide range of merchandise including religious and theological books, children’s books, CDs and tapes of the choir, greetings cards, postcards and gifts such as stationery, china and glass, T-shirts and sweat shirts, all inspired by Sir Christopher Wren’s great architectural masterpiece.