St Paul's Cathedral

Exterior and Churchyard

West Front
The west front of St Paul's is dominated by a triangular relief depicting the conversion of the cathedral's patron saint to Christianity. Above it stands the figure of St Paul himself, flanked by other apostles and the four evangelists. This was the work of Francis Bird (in 1718-21), who was greatly influenced by the church architecture of Rome. Bird also carved the statue of Queen Anne that stands in front of St Paul's. Anne was the reigning monarch at the time of the cathedral's completion. 

West Towers
The two western towers are topped with a pineapple - a symbol of peace, prosperity and hospitality. Near the top of the south-west tower is a clock, which was installed in 1893 and has three faces, each more than 5 metres in diameter. 
Above the clock hang Great Tom, the hour bell, and Great Paul, the largest swinging bell in Europe. Find out more about the cathedral bells

South Churchyard
The south churchyard was refashioned in 2008. On the pavement at the western end of the churchyard is a floor-plan on the pre-Fire cathedral with an outline of the present one superimposed on it. 

Chapter House
Today the Chapter House, or administrative centre for the cathedral, stands on the north side: an elegant brick building that faces into the newly developed Paternoster Square. 

St Paul's Cross
Near by, in the cathedral's north-east churchyard, a plaque marks the location of St Paul's Cross, a popular centre of news and comment, where during the reformation  William Tyndale's New Testament was burned because it was in English, and where generations of Londoners played their role in fomenting public opinion. The column mounted with a gilded statue of St Paul also commemorates the public preaching of the Christian faith in this location.
The Virtual Paul's Cross project is an exciting development in reconstructing the medieval Paul's Cross and the north-east Churchyard (with two arms of the adjacent medieval cathedral), directed by Professor John Wall, of North Carolina State University. This project reconstructs a sermon of 1622 in the speech of the time, with crowd noises.

Programme of Cleaning and Repair
In 2011, one of the largest and most impressive restoration projects ever undertaken in the UK was formally completed. The St Paul’s Cathedral programme of cleaning and repair cost £40m, took 15 years, and was the first time in its history that the building was comprehensively restored inside and out.
Since the project of cleaning and repair commenced, the exterior and interior of the cathedral have been beautifully restored. Once blackened and damaged, the west front now rises majestically at the top of Ludgate Hill. The interior of the cathedral has been transformed by state of the art conservation techniques and the light that now floods the space highlights the Portland stone used in the cathedral’s construction and brings mosaics, carvings and sculpture to life.
During the external cleaning programme of cleaning and repair over 150,000 individual stones were cleaned and approximately 45,000m2 of scaffolding was used. The work was undertaken by a cycle of 14 staff including masons, stone cleaners and labourers (apart from work on the west front which was carried out by Wates Construction)


West front of St Paul's


Statue of Queen Anne