St Paul’s Cathedral has been here for over 1,400 years. It has been built and rebuilt five times, and always its main purpose has been as a
place of worship and prayer.
St Paul's, with its world-famous dome, is an iconic feature of the London skyline. Step inside and you can enjoy the Cathedral's awe-inspiring
interior, and uncover fascinating stories about its history.
Learning & Faith
Lifelong learning is a core part of the our work, delivered through a variety of events by St Paul's Institute, and the
Cathedral's Adult Learning and Schools & Family Learning departments.
History & Collections
For more than 1,400 years, a Cathedral dedicated to St Paul has stood at the highest point in the City. The present Cathedral is the
masterpiece of Britain's most famous architect Sir Christopher Wren.
Behind the scenes, the cost of caring for St Paul's and continuing to deliver our central ministry and work is enormous and the generosity of
our supporters is critical.
Widely considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful buildings and a powerful symbol of the splendour of London, St Paul’s Cathedral is a
breathtaking events venue.
But one of the most-cherished moments for many, is the use of the Cathedral's steps in the set for the iconic Feed the Birds song
from the Disney film version of Mary Poppins.
Released over half a century ago in 1964, Mary Poppins has remained one of the silver screen's most enduring classics, a story of
a no-nonsense nanny, widely thought of as Walt Disney's crowning achievement.
And right at the very heart of the movie, highlighting the merits of giving to charity, is Feed the Birds - a song which shows the Bird
Woman sitting on the Cathedral steps selling crumbs for tuppence a bag.
Written by Richard and Robert Sherman, the famous tune recurs throughout the film, but features most prominently when Mary, played by Julie
Andrews, sings to the Banks children about the Bird Woman.
Referring to the numerous statues atop the Cathedral, one verse is sung:
All around the cathedral the saints and apostles
Look down as she sells her wares
Although you can't see it, you know they are smiling
Each time someone shows that he cares
Although the part of the Bird Woman only has one line in the film, far from being an obscure actress, the role was played by Oscar winner Jane
Darwell, who picked up the award for Best Supporting Actress in 1940 film, The Grapes of Wrath. Talked out of retirement by a persistent Walt
Disney, her appearance in Mary Poppins would be her last, at the age of 84.
It is reputed that Feed the Birds became Walt Disney's most loved song and also that it was a part of the film that Mary Poppins'
author, P L Travers, did not object to.
Watch Victoria Coren
Mitchell talk about Feed the Birds in a BBC Culture Show special, The Secret Life of Mary Poppins, broadcast in 2014.
Today, St Paul's association with Mary Poppins remains as strong as ever. Although visitors are now encouraged not to feed the pigeons on
the steps, many come to have their photos taken in the same spot as the Bird Woman.