|Today||Wednesday 12 Mar 2014|
|08:30||Doors open for sightseeing|
|16:00||Last entry for sightseeing|
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Discover the Crypt
Lord Nelson was famously killed in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and buried in St Paul's after a state funeral. He was laid in a coffin made from the timber of a French ship he defeated in battle.
The black marble sarcophagus that adorns his tomb was originally made for Cardinal Wolsey, Lord Chancellor during the reign of Henry VIII in the early sixteenth century. After Wolsey's fall from favour, it remained unused at Windsor until a suitable recipient could be found. Nelson's viscount coronet now tops this handsome monument.
Lord Wellington rests in a simple but imposing casket made of Cornish granite. Although a national hero, Wellington was not a man of glory in his victories. 'Nothing except a battle lost can be held so melancholy as a battle won,' he wrote in a despatch of 1815, the year in which he defeated Napoleon at Waterloo.
The Duke was known as The Iron Duke and as a result of his tireless campaigning, has left a colourful list of namesakes - Wellington boots, the dish Beef Wellington and even a brand of cigars. He also coined some memorable phrases. He gave the expression ' . . . and another thing' to the English language and declared 'The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.'
The banners hanging around Wellington's tomb were made for his funeral procession. Originally, there was one for Prussia, which was removed during World War I and never reinstated.
Sir Christopher Wren's Tomb
Sir Christopher Wren, the architect of St Paul's, is buried in the south aisle at the east end of the crypt. His tomb is marked by a simple stone and is surrounded by memorials to his family, to Robert Hooke (Wren's associate and intellectual equal) and to the masons and other colleagues who worked on the building of St Paul's. The Latin epitaph above his tomb, written by his son famously addresses us: 'Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you.'
In the same section of the crypt are many tombs and memorials of artists, scientists and musicians. They include the painters Sir Joshua Reynolds and Sir John Everett Millais; the scientist Sir Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin; the composer Sir Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert and Sullivan); and the sculptor Henry Moore.
The Chapel of St Faith: Chapel of the Order of the British Empire
The original St Faith's was a parish church attached to the old cathedral destroyed in the Great Fire of London. During the rebuilding of St Paul's, this chapel was dedicated to St Faith close to the foundations of the former church and offered parishioners their own place of worship in the building.
In 1960 this chapel became the spiritual home to the Order of the British Empire. The Order was created by King George V in 1917, in recognition of the contribution made by women during the First World War. Until then no woman had been eligible for an award, although an exception was made for Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern British nursing. The OBE was separated into military and civil divisions in 1918. Today, award-holders of the OBE and members of their family may be married and baptised in the chapel.
Nelson's tomb in the Nelson Chamber
Detail from the tomb of the Duke of Wellington
OBE Chapel kneelers and altar frontal