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.
The simple beauty of the altar frontal belies the tragic but often uplifting stories of the men who created it. Showing intricate
floral and bird designs with the chalice of the Eucharist and the palm branches of martyrdom, this altar frontal was commissioned
especially for the national service of thanksgiving at the end of the War in July 1919, attended by King George V.
The horrors of WW1 saw countless lives lost across Europe, as well as many men returning home severely injured, physically and mentally.
Hospitals around the UK took in the men from all the allied countries as they recovered and recuperated.
Of the many forms of rehabilitation, embroidery was seen as a good way of reducing the effects of shell shock, owing to its intricacy and
need for concentration and a steady hand.
And so idea of an altar frontal for St Paul's Cathedral was conceived, with men from the UK, Australia, Canada and South Africa,
contributing small sections, which were then stitched together at the Royal School of Needlework.
A beautifully illuminated book contains the handwritten names of every man
who worked on the frontal, together with the names of their regiments and hospitals.
When complete, the altar frontal was used on the Cathedral's high altar and would remain in use long after the War. However, the
frontal's fortunes changed in the next World War, when German bombs destroyed the high altar. Luckily, the frontal survived the Blitz, but
the restoration of the Cathedral saw a new high altar and the WW1 frontal was no longer used.
In 2013 that it was decided the WW1 altar frontal would be used again as the centrepiece and focal point of the Cathedral's WW1
The frontal made its way to the Cathedral broderers, who set about restoring it to its original glory. And so the story of the St
Paul's Cathedral WW1 altar frontal lives on, and the memory of 138 brave soldiers is preserved.