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Iron is a girl’s best friend at St Paul’s this Valentine’s Day
14 February 2012
Diamonds may be forever and a girl’s best friend, but one Londoner has spurned the precious stone in favour of iron this Valentine’s Day.
Martin Barratt, a managing partner at a London advertising agency, contacted the Cathedral hoping to find out a little more about the work of Jean Tijou, whose famously intricate work can be seen throughout St Paul’s.
Martin’s girlfriend, Janine Tijou, is a direct descendent of the French Huguenot ironworker, and he wanted to bring her to the Cathedral so she could see his work as a Valentine’s gift.
But more than just providing information, the Cathedral staff jumped into action to lay on a private guided tour of all the Tijou ironwork within St Paul's, including the magnificent Tijou Gates at the High Altar and the railings which run up the famous Geometric Staircase. They were also invited into the historic Library to view a number of books recording Tijou's work within St Paul's.
And as a surprise to the couple, the Cathedral’s shop offered a decorative picture frame from its Tijou range.
Martin said: "As well as being absolutely gorgeous, Janine is a talented soul and religious architecture is in her blood. Part of her work includes working with London’s View Management Framework, keeping buildings such as St Paul’s protected from new developments so it can be seen from all across London.
"I wanted to surprise Janine on Valentine's Day by bringing her to St Paul's to see the Tijou pieces and celebrate over 300 years of her family's connection with St Paul's Cathedral. To get our own private tour was fantastic as I had only contacted the cathedral for a little more information about Tijou. We are also thrilled with our gift and would like to thank everyone at the cathedral for looking after us so well.”
St Paul's is no stranger to romance. Just this morning there have been two marriage proposals within the Cathedral.