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On this day in 1632 the English architect and astronomer Sir Christopher Wren was born. He will always be remembered as the architect of St Paul’s, London’s magnificent cathedral that was rebuilt after the great fire of 1666.
Wren is buried there, and on the brass plaque that covers him are written these words, “Here in its foundations lies the architect of this church and city, Christopher Wren, who lived beyond 90 years, not for his own profit but for the public good. Reader, if you seek his monument – look around you”.
A notable scholar and astronomer, Wren also designed 52 other London churches after the fire as well as many other notable buildings. His architectural influence was immense and buildings such as the Pantheon in Paris and the Capitol in Washington DC were inspired by the dome of St Paul’s.
He seems to be a man who inspires a certain kind of clever poetry too. Here are two examples:
By Hugh Chesterman:
Clever men like Christopher Wren
Only occur just now and then.
No one expects, in perpetuity
Architects of his ingenuity.
And by Edward Clerihew Bentley:
Sir Christopher Wren
Said: ‘I am going to dine with some men.
If anyone calls: Say I am designing St. Paul’s.
Today I give thanks for the beauty of some of our architecture.