Wren Spires 5/5

Px04218_Stamp_400x261_email - 6 Sep 2015

Above: St Paul’s Cathedral seen through the glass wall of Blackfriars Station..

The first of the two ‘landscape’ stamps in this article celebrates not a spire of a Wren church but the magnificent dome of Wren’s greatest masterpiece — St Paul’s Cathedral. Remember that all the views on the ‘email stamps’ have been taken from a platform on Blackfriars Station. It is not an ideal viewpoint from which to photograph the cathedral but at least it is possible to see the dome and the two small towers above the western entrance to the building. Various parts of the modern framework of the station are also to be seen but, in a rather odd view, the cathedral is seen behind the green-roofed building that once housed the manual switch-board for all international telephone calls in the 1950s. The building is called Faraday Building.

As a ‘footnote’ to this stamp, it should be pointed out that views of St Paul’s Cathedral can be seen right across London, even today. This is not by accident. Wren would be rather flattered to know that very strict planning rules regulate what are known as ‘sight lines’ across the capital. Views of the cathedral from points as far away as Forest Hill and Hampstead are protected and no buildings are allowed to be erected if their height would block those views. In addition, views of the cathedral are also protected so that buildings cannot be erected if they affect the skyline ‘behind’ the cathedral either. As an example of this, the so-called ‘cheese-grater’ building has a sloping side for precisely this reason. If its side were vertical, instead of sloping, it would protrude into the view of St Paul’s Cathedral when viewed from a defined view-point.

Px04211_Stamp_400x261_email - 6 Sep 2015

Above: The four pinnacles on top of the tower of St Mary Aldermary seen against the expansive windows of a large refurbished office block that was until 2004 used by the Stock Exchange.

The second stamp shows the top of the tower of St Mary Aldermary, so-called because it was the oldest church in the City of London dedicated to St Mary the Virgin. This stamp shows a second view of the tower which has already appeared on a previous ‘email stamp’ in this series. it is seen against the regular pattern of windows on a large office block that, until 2004, had been used by the London Stock Exchange. The view would be quite uncluttered but for the fact that between the tower and the camera there is evidence of work in progress to construct a new roof on an office block. The diagonal white object on the left of the stamp is part of an awning which is covering the office roof while work is taking place. It is hoped that the stamp can be remade at a later date and that the image can be smartened up as a result. These workmen are to be found all over the City!

This concludes the series of five articles, presenting six ‘email stamps’, with the theme of ‘Wren Spires’ seen from Blackfriars Station.


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