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.
St Paul’s Cathedral was built on an epic scale and with absolute attention to detail. These are qualities deeply embodied in its Grand
In 1694 a contract was signed with eminent German organ builder, Bernard Smith, to supply an organ for the new Cathedral. The 27-stop,
three-manual, no-pedal instrument was placed on a screen in the quire.
The organ remained relatively unaltered until, in the 1870s, Henry ‘Father’ Willis completed an essentially new instrument. The original Wren
case was boldly divided in half and placed against the pillars on either side of the quire. At considerable risk to his own reputation, Willis
had constructed something of a musical and visual coup de théatre in one of the most important ecclesiastical buildings in the world.
Further alterations and reconstructions have been made by Henry Willis III (1930s), N P Mander Ltd (1970s) and Mander Organs Ltd (2000s).
A second, mobile console has also been provided. The two consoles are identical - each of 137 drawstops and 140 controls. The operating system
needed to make this set-up work utilises the same technology as the NASA space shuttle programme and the International Space Station.
But what of the instrument’s ability to make music? Like the building in which it finds itself, the organ is capable of the big and the small
and finds a unity in its very diversity. Former St Paul's Organist, John Scott, describes the Grand Organ as having a “chameleon-like
character”, but above all else, it is capable of making the most incredible music.
The Cathedral has three other organs, the 'Willis on Wheels', Continuo 'Chamber' Organ and OBE Chapel Organ. Organ specifications.
Cast in 1878, the 12 change ringing bells which hang in the north west tower of St Paul's form the second largest ring of bells in the
Change ringing requires both physical and mental ability and it takes most ringers several years to become sufficiently skilled to ring on the
challenging bells of St Paul's. Each bell is given a number, from 1 - 12, and a change is a sequence of these numbers where each bell
rings once. The order or sequence is changed and each bell rings again. The smallest 'treble' bell weighs just over eight
hundredweights, while the largest 'tenor' bell weighs over three tons (61 cwt). The St Paul's ring is in the key of B flat.
The change ringing bells are currently silent whilst they are being restored. It is hoped that they will be back in operation by
November 2018, in time for their 140th birthday.
9.45 - 10.15am | 11 - 11.30am | 2.40 - 3.15pm
Also in the north west tower is the original service bell - 'The Banger' - which is still rung the 8am Eucharist.
Great Paul and the Clock Bells
The south west tower houses Great Paul, the largest bell ever cast in the British Isles, which weighs 16½ tons. Sadly, Great Paul has
not sounded for several years because of a broken chiming mechanism.
There are also three clock bells. The largest, Great Tom weighs over 5 tons, and as well as striking the hours, is
tolled on the death of senior members of the Royal Family, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, the Dean of St Paul's or the
Lord Mayor of London.