St Paul's Cathedral covers up

Last updated at 12:50 20 October 2003


St Paul's could be covered for a year

Visitors hoping to snap a picture of St Paul's Cathedral in the coming year may be in for a surprise.

A life-size false front is covering the famous West Front while essential repair and cleaning work take place.

The facade goes up today and will remain on the West Front, which faces the top of Ludgate Hill in the heart of the City, for up to a year.

Architectural drawings of the cathedral's iconic profile taken by Arthur FE Poley in 1927 have been printed onto a 1610 square metre piece of PVC designed to withstand sun, wind and rain.

Sections depicting the towers will be added to the front in the next few days and should give visitors a realistic impression of what lies beneath.

The cleaning and repair of the West Front and the rebuilding of the West Steps are being funded by a £5 million donation from the late Sir Paul Getty.

The Dean of St Paul's, the Very Revd Dr John Moses, thanked the late Sir Paul and said:

'For the millions of people from all over the world that visit the Cathedral, the West Front is by far the most visible aspect. Its cleaning and restoration represent an important step forward in our comprehensive programme of restoration and development.'

The work is part of the Cathedral's £40 million internal and external restoration scheme marking the 300th anniversary of the laying of the final stone.

Martin Stancliffe, Surveyor to the Fabric of St Paul's, comments: 'Keeping this great cathedral well repaired and clean is a fundamental part of its ongoing care. We look forward to the west front being revealed again thanks to the generosity of this donation'.

Visiting hours have not been affected. For more information visit

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