Medieval St Paul’s Cathedral of London to be rebuilt virtually

When the Great Fire of London destroyed much of the city in 1666, one of the greatest losses was St. Paul’s Cathedral. A new project is now set to launch that will allow visitors to once again explore this medieval landmark in virtual form.

MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) announced on their website that it is working with Professor John Wall of North Carolina State University on his Virtual St Paul’s Cathedral Project website which will show the cathedral as it appeared and sounded back in 1622.


The MOLA Illustration Team has created SketchUp 3D models of a number of the cathedral’s lost interior features – the choir stalls and screen, pulpit, altar, and seventeen medieval and Tudor monuments – which will be incorporated into a complete model of the cathedral.

The monument of John of Gaunt and his wife Blanche (erected 1374) (c) MOLA

The models are based upon engravings taken by Bohemian etcher Wenceslaus Hollar in 1657 – less than a decade before the Great Fire of London razed the cathedral to the ground. They will sit within a complete rendering of the cathedral and surrounding streets developed by NCSU in collaboration with St Paul’s Cathedral Archaeologist John Schofield.

The monument of Sir John de Beauchamp (died 1388) (c) MOLA

Sometimes called Old St Paul’s Cathedral, the structure was first built in 1087 after another London fire destroyed much of the city. It took over 200 years before the cathedral was completed, but when it was finally finished the cathedral was one of the longest churches in the world, as well as having one of a spire that was 489 feet (149 metres) tall, also one of the world’s tallest at the time. Click here to read more about the cathedral.


To find out more about the project, please visit the Virtual St Paul’s Cathedral Project website.

Top Image: St Paul’s around 1620, from the model in progress © John Schofield (St Paul’s) Carlos Lemos, Juan Jose Fuldain, Hannah Faux (MOLA), Cameron Westbrook, Grey Isley (NCSU)


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