Wren at Work

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16 Jun - 28 Sep 2023
Guildhall, City of London


The rebuilding of London and the new St Paul’s cathedral after the 1666 fire was said to have taken place with a frenzy and fervour akin to the conflagration itself. Overseen by the Phoenix and the inscription ‘Resurgam’, this compact exhibition is constructed to expose visitors to the intensity of this significant moment in the Capital’s history through the life and works of Christopher Wren and his contemporaries. Within a re-creation of Wren’s St Paul’s working ‘office’ as it is described in James Campbell’s ‘Building St Paul’s young and old will be able to explore, study. witness and appreciate in animated fashion:


  • The building methods and tools of the age,
  • Peruse facsimile drawings and documents from The Guildhall’s and other collections
  • A case study of how citizens lost and regained their properties after the fire
  • The daily lives of 17th century diarists and writers (Robert Hooke, John Evelyn, Margaret Cavendish)
  • The birth of ‘The Royal Society’ and new scientific enquiry at Gresham College
  • The similarities and differences of the working world of ‘The English Baroque Architect’ from our own 21st century perspective.


Entering this faux 17th century environment – constructed by Chelsea Construction – will add weight and substance to perceptions of our own age through the lens of one man’s achievements. The artist / cartographer Adam Dant has created a specially commissioned map which describes all these aspects of Christopher Wren’s life and times. This will be displayed alongside illustrations from Architect George Saumarez- Smith and members of the WCCA , a scale model of St Paul’s Dome from students at Kingston University, and stone models from master mason Pierre Bidaud