Stone from St. Pauls Cathedral, (pink discolouration caused by the Great Fire, 1666)

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Specimen of stone from St. Pauls Cathedral, (pink discolouration shows that the stone was used in the original cathedral and was damaged by the Great Fire, 1666)

This is a sample of stone taken from the old St. Paul’s Cathedral (built from 1087 to 1314). The cathedral was already in severe structural decline by the beginning of the 17th century. Sir Christopher Wren was attempting a restoration in 1666 when the cathedral was destroyed in the Great Fire of London. At that point, the old structure was demolished, and the present, domed cathedral was erected on the site. The pink discolouration on this stone is fire damage from the intense heat of the burning cathedral. Restoration work had recently started and the whole cathedral was covered in flammable wooden scaffolding. It was hot enough to melt the metal parts of the roof. We are lucky to have these specimens of stone from the original building. They are special because they show the pink stain of fire damage. The heat from the fire caused a reaction in the materials and that’s why the pink colour came through.


Building Construction
Object Number:
1966-376 Pt8
Ministry of Technology (Watford)