The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from:

13 Annotations

Phil  •  Link

The cathedral of Pepys' time was mostly destroyed in the Great Fire and was replaced by the current building, designed by Sir Christopher Wren.

Paul Miller  •  Link

St. Paul’s Cathedral, situated on the highest Ground of the City, was first founded about the Year 610, by Ethelbert King of Kent, and Segbert King of the West Saxons, in a Wood or Grove, where stood formerly a Temple of Diana, the Heathen Goddess; which Opinion was farther confirmed in the Time of King Edward the Second, about 1310, and 700 Years after the first Foundation, when Workmen digging thereabouts, they found above 100 Heads of Oxen, which were the Sacrifices offered to the foresaid Goddess. After several Disasters by Fire, it was wholly consumed in the dreadful Conflagration of 1666; however it was quickly began to be rebuilt, and finished within these few Years, so that it is now the most ample and celebrated Piece of Architecture in the whole World, and the largest Cathedral, being 20 Foot longer than St. Peter’s at Rome. It is dedicated (as before) to the Apostle Paul; the History of whose Conversion, and Preaching to the Bereans, is curiously represented upon the West Portico; opposite to which in the Church Yard, is erected a most magnificent Statute of white Marble, to the Honour of the late Queen Anne.
---- W. Stow 1722

Philip Somervail  •  Link

Some further background history about Old St Paul’s Cathedral can be found at: of which this is an extract:
“….fire destroyed the [previous] church in 1087. The new Norman building, [nowadays] called Old St. Paul’s, took over 150 years to complete, the final touches being applied in 1240. Well, not quite final touches - a new Gothic choir was added by 1313, making St. Paul’s the third longest church in Europe at 596 feet. The following year the spire was completed. At 489 feet it was the tallest in all Europe.
“In the Tudor period an open-air pulpit called Paul’s Cross was established by the south wall of St. Paul’s. There crowds gathered to hear rabble-rousing Protestant sermons. In 1549 the preachers incited a mob to sack the cathedral itself. They rampaged through the interior, destroying the high altar and ravaging the tombs, wall-hangings, and tombs.
“St. Paul’s bad luck continued. The spire was struck by lightning (not too surprising, considering how it towered over the city). The cathedral became a centre of trade, with merchants selling their wares in the nave of the church itself. Architect Inigo Jones was called in to resurrect the decaying building, but his efforts, hampered by lack of funds, only delayed the inevitable.
“During the English Civil War, Parliamentary troops commandeered the cathedral and used the nave as cavalry barracks. They broke up the scaffolding and sold the material.
“The fortunes of Old St. Paul’s seemed to take a turn for the better with the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660. Charles II appointed a young architect named Christopher Wren to undertake major repairs to the building. Wren had only begun his work when final calamity struck.
“On September 4, 1666, fire broke out in a bakehouse in Pudding Lane. Fanned by a fierce wind, the fire spread through the close-packed streets of London, destroying everything in its path. For four days the fire raged, and when the smoke finally cleared, Old St. Paul’s was nothing but charred timbers and rubble.”
Here is a link to some pictures of Old St Paul’s as it would have looked at the time that Pepys started his diary in 1660 – plus an earlier one showing the spire still in place:
(The illustrations were, I see, scanned from, among other places, ‘The History of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London’ by Sir William Dugdale (1605-86).)
G H Cook’s 1955 book “Old S. Paul’s Cathedral: A Lost Glory of Medieval London” includes a description of the cathedral’s near-derelict condition in the 1650s, its tombs and memorials smashed – the cavalry having been in occupation in the Nave for some years.

michael j. gresk m.a.  •  Link

all the previous comments say nothing of the (current) magnificent structure. with apologies, some of us tend to the plebian observations.
the whispering gallery, the spectacular view from the tiny dome windows, the grave of nelson in the crypt. please let me state the obvious, spend an entire day (maybe two) just consuming st. paul's

Glyn  •  Link

London Panorama

The following is part of a London panorama that was created in 1710, i.e. when the new St Paul's Cathedral was only a few years old. You can also see the Pepys family church of St Bride's with its tiered spire on the left of the picture, and the Fleet River unobtrusively enters the Thames somewhere between the two.

It's amazing how crowded the buildings are, even after the Fire, and also how they are now completely of brick rather than wood-and-plaster. And also how close the open countryside is (e.g. rural areas like Kensington and Highgate). If you click on the other sections of the panorama (click on "Large Images" on the right of the pic) you will see that this is very densely packed compared with Westminster.

vicente  •  Link

There is one building [btm lf hd cnr on the bank]that appears to have five floors plus attic area, while the rest of the city with the exception of the religiously inspired, do reach no higher than 4 floors plus Leads. the leads in most cases do seem to be eye ball to eye ball. As most rooms, I am led to believe, be 15 foot ceilings, this building has 10 foot ceilings? [ an error of the artist? or did the artist record a building code violation or was the the property just trying to pack more work space in to a given volume?]

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.










  • Apr