Queen Elizabeth II attends the tercentenary service at St Paul’s. PICTURE: Graham
Lacdao/St Paul’s Cathedral

A service was held at St Paul’s today in celebration of the 300 year anniversary of the cathedral’s completion.

The tercentenary service also marks the end of a massive 15 year, £40 million repair and cleaning project, meaning the cathedral is now clear of scaffolding for the first time in 15 years.

Designed by the indomitable Sir Christopher Wren, work on St Paul’s Cathedral began in 1677 and was formally completed in 1710 (although it had been holding services since 1697). (For more on the history of St Paul’s, see our earlier post, part of our series on Wren’s London, here).

Said to have the largest dome after St Peter’s in Vatican City, St Paul’s has been at the centre of London’s (and the United Kingdom’s) religious and political life for centuries, hosting state funerals (Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Winston Churchill’s were all held here) as well as the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana and many celebration services.

Sights include the crypt – containing the tombs of both Nelson and Wellington – and the Whispering Gallery (see our earlier post on the Whispering Gallery here) as well as the exterior viewing galleries.

To celebrate the cathedral’s liberation from scaffolding, St Paul’s is holding a 300th Anniversary Photography Competition in which photographers are invited to submit their best exterior shots of the building. The 10 winning images will then be displayed in the cathedral crypt. The competition runs until 16th July.

To enter, upload pictures to St Paul’s 300th anniversary competition group at Flickr – www.flickr.com/groups/stpaulslondon/. For more information, see www.stpauls.co.uk/photocomp.

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