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St Paul’s opens its doors for second Surprise St Paul’s photo competition

For the first time in its history, St Paul’s will open its doors exclusively to photographers, and ask them to capture something surprising through their lens.

Owing to the success of 2014’s Surprise St Paul’s, which asked people to send in their best and most imaginative images of the outside of the Cathedral, 300 lucky ticket holders will now be able to do the same inside Wren’s great masterpiece.

And for just £10, which will go directly to the Cathedral’s crucial fundraising team, each snapper will be able to submit their best images, with the best winning exclusive prizes, including their winning image going on display in the newly-reopened Cathedral Chapter House.

Surprise St Paul’s 2

Wednesday 8 April 2015

6.15 - 8.30pm



Although it is the single most photographed building in London from the outside, St Paul’s maintains a working practice of not allowing visitors to use their cameras inside, in an attempt to help preserve the spiritual life and peace of this working church.
But the Cathedral knows there is a wealth of stunning photographs just waiting to be taken inside, and this special evening will give keen photographers the chance to show the stunning interior in new ways, perhaps even from an angle never seen before - and this is what competition organisers are inviting.
All participants will be encouraged to share their photos on the Cathedral’s Twitter and Facebook pages using #SurpriseStPauls, as well as then entering their best three shots to the competition by email.

All entries will be compiled on the Cathedral’s Flickr account and the ultimate winner will be selected by the outgoing Director of the National Portrait Gallery and Chair of the Cathedral’s Fabric Advisory Committee, Sandy Nairne.
The chosen image will go on display in the Cathedral Chapter House, which is soon to re-open after a renovation and conservation project lasting almost two years. Designed by Wren, the Chapter house is the administrative hub of the Cathedral, from where great state occasions including the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill and Diamond Jubilee of HM The Queen have been planned.
The winner will also enjoy a private evening inside St Paul’s, for them and up to five friends, led by the Cathedral’s Surveyor to the Fabric, Olive Caroe. This tour will take-in both in the grand spaces seen by hundreds-of-thousands of people each year and in smaller, very rarely seen areas.

Watch a taste of some of the areas winners may see in this Londonist video.

All six people will then head over the road to the Grange Hotel, which boasts fabulous unobstructed views of the Cathedral, where they will enjoy a Traditional Hibachi Dinner or Benihana Specialties Dinner.

The competition comes after St Paul’s launched its brand new online donation system, which offers users the chance to choose what area of Cathedral life to which they would like to donate, whether that be the Cathedral fabric, conservation or choir.

All participants to Surprise St Paul’s 2 will receive information about the fundraising function of St Paul’s, although no entrant is in any way obliged to donate.
Matthew Lagden, Director of Development at St Paul’s, said: “St Paul’s receives no government money for its upkeep or to help fund the vast array of services, events and debates that take place here throughout the year.
“We hope to engage, excite and surprise everyone who comes here for whatever reason, so through this photo competition we are asking everyone to surprise us back.
“Whether the photo shows the length of the Cathedral from the very west end or a tiny detail picked out with a long lens, we are looking forward to seeing all entries. And the theme is such that you have as good a chance of winning if you have top camera equipment or just a smartphone.”

The Cathedral wishes to thank Grange St Paul’s Hotel for kindly offering part of the competition prize.