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British Industrial History

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St Paul's Cathedral

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1914. Motor driven pump for St. Paul's Cathedral by Merryweather and Sons.

St Paul's Cathedral, London, is an Anglican cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese of London. It sits at the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London. Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604.The present church, dating from the late 17th century, was designed in the English Baroque style by Sir Christopher Wren

Its construction, completed within Wren's lifetime, was part of a major rebuilding programme which took place in the city after the Great Fire of London.[1]

1859 Whispering in St Pauls-"At last week's ordinary meeting of the Royal Institute of Architects, Mr. Parris, who renovated the painting in the dome of St. Paul's, said he had remarked, from his experience of that cathedral, that he could be heard distinctly at the distance of 220 ft., when he was immediately under the eye of the dome. Any person standing on a particular part of the pavement below, at a right angle, or nearly at a right angle from where his voice would strike the roof, could hear even a whisper with the greatest distinctness; in fact, be had often held conversations in that way. He believed Mr. Penrose had likewise tried the experiment. As he moved to a different part of the dome, the person below would have to move to a different position, but in the same angle; when this became too great, the voice was lost. He had often tried the experiment, and found that the reverberations in a dome were always repeated thirty-two times, exactly corresponding with the point of the compass. It was the same at the Colloseum (London), where he bad tried it with the flute, voice, and every means. He had tried experiments in the same way in St. Paul's, upon the level of the organ, and above and beneath it; and he found invariably that the sound was always best heard at the point opposite to where the voice had struck. It was precisely the same with the voice ascending as descending; in fact, his attention had been called to the matter by hearing a man below ask another for sixpence; he exclaimed:-"Take care, he is giving you a bad one;" and the man immediately turned round, surprised as to where the voice could be coming from." [2]

1925 Saint Paul's Cathedral: Its Structure, Defects and Repair by William Harvey - Saint Paul's Cathedral, now classed as a "dangerous structure" presents some problems of extraordinary interest in connection with its great breadth, height and weight compared with the restricted bulk and limited strength of the material employed in its construction. The second interim report of the Commission appointed in 1921 to advise upon the best methods of repair hardly does justice to these considerations of constructional science, to historical interests, or to the building itself..." Read More

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Sources of Information

  1. Wikipedia
  2. The Engineer 1859/02/25