Monday, 13 July 2009

St. Paul's Cathedral

We were lucky enough to go on a tour of St. Paul's Cathedral library today with a man named Joe Wisdom. A very fitting name for a wise and friendly gentleman. St. Paul's Cathedral is a very beautiful place. We went up the winding staircase that is featured in the Harry Potter films. (It was a long way up with 97 steps!) We we allowed to see a room filled with several different scale models and drawings of what St. Paul's Cathedral could have looked like before the version we have now. The scale model we got to look at looked like a version of the Vatican. St Paul's is not a Catholic church so they changed it to look different from that so there would be no conflicts. There was also a pulpit dating from about the year 1802 that had been carried up from the sanctuary. It was very beautifully carved. Next we went to see the library, it wasn't very large, but it was so nice. It had high ceilings that Mr. Wisdom said allowed for your ideas to float and flourish, but if the ceiling was low it would keep your ideas from flourishing. He told us that the library uses volunteers from the church to clean the library and restore books. He also told us that the temperature must stay relatively stable so as not to damage the books or artifacts in the library. The books could have a bad chemical reaction to serious fluctuation in the temperature. The book of Psalms is the oldest book in the collection dating back to the thirteenth century. That is amazing to have a manuscript that old! Also, no two early books are the same, sometimes the bindings are different on them, or they will have writing in them from the previous owners. Mr. Wisdom told us that there are twenty thousand bibliographic volumes with thirteen thousand and five hundred physical volumes in this library. Most of the books in the collection are written in Latin, but there are some Bibles written in polyglot text. Also, the books in the library were conserved by the Heritage Volunteer group of a Member Society of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies. Our class got to see things most people don't get to see so it was an amazing experience and I feel very lucky to be on this trip! (This picture was acquired at

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