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Temporary repairs were made to old St Paul's, but the structure was fundamentally unsound. Finally, in 1668, Wren was asked to produce a design for a new building. Demolition of the old cathedral began the same year.
Wren, as the Surveyor to the King's Works, was in charge and initially took the experimental step of using gunpowder. Like many new techniques, it was not easy to control and neighbours complained furiously about noise and damage, so Wren resorted to a battering ram instead.
The writer Samuel Pepys noted in his diary on 26 August 1668: "It is strange to see with what speed the people imployed do pull down Paul's steeple - and with what ease."