The other day, Matt Brown of Londonist invited me to join him on an inspection tour of St Bride’s steeple, which is undergoing emergency repairs. What a question. We’re talking about one of London’s tallest, whitest, most elegant and famous church towers. It’s the inspiration behind every tiered wedding cake. And it was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, London’s genius architect, after the Great Fire destroyed the sixth incarnation of a St Bride’s church on the site.
So, accompanied by filmmaker Geoff Marshall, we donned the compulsory building site H&S paraphernalia of hi-vis bib and helmet, and set off. Unlike the image on the right, from tip to toe, the tower is currently shrouded in very sturdy scaffolding. Despite this – and the fact that many years ago I’d spent six incident-free months as a scaffolder – after 50 feet or so, I was feeling decidedly uneasy. That oo-er, help me mummy feeling.
But there was no turning back from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Through gritted teeth, I grimly continued and after a further 100 feet things improved substantially. It’s a question of one’s head getting used to the environment, even after the steps finished and we proceeded on ladders. I stopped counting after 20 of them. Eventually we reached the top platform which surrounds the golden weather vane, 230 feet in the sky over Fleet Street. What a view!
Christopher Wren’s St Bride’s is the seventh church building on this site since the 6th Century, when the first one dedicated to St Bridget went up.
Please consider contributing to St Bride’s INSPIRE! campaign to complete emergency works on all parts of this wonderful church’s fabric.