Monday, July 5, 2010

St. Paul's Cathedral Library

Today class officially began with our first library visit. What a fantastic way to start off! St. Paul's Cathedral library is stunning. The picture at the left is from the St. Paul's website as they ask that no one post pictures of the interior on the internet, and with good reason. I am not at all a religious person but St. Paul's affected me all the same.

The librarian at St. Paul's, Joesph Wisdom, not only has an excellent name but is an excellent speaker. We had a somewhat speedy tour but an informative one nonetheless. After climbing more stairs than I ever intended upon consecutively climbing in my life, we reached a museum-like area behind a secretive looking door. Mr. Wisdom told us about the architect of the current St. Paul's Cathedral which was completed in 1710. The original burned in the Great Fire of 1666 which led to Christopher Wren designing the cathedral standing today. We got to see what is called the "BBC view" from the back of cathedral where the BBC sets up their cameras for televised mass.

Obviously the whole group was waiting with bated breath to go into the library. And it was definitely worth the wait. The smell of books in that room was overwhelming. Mr. Wisdom told us that it is from the chemical reactions of paper, leather, etc... breaking down. I learned about that type of thing in my Preservation class at Simmons. It is called inherent vice and every book has it, no matter what you do. The highlight was the book of psalms from the 1300s, which is definitely the oldest thing I have ever seen with my own eyes. The library's collection policy is to only deal with items pertaining directly to the cathedral itself, members of the church, or Christopher Wren.

After the tour we got to explore the cathedral on our own. It is a beautiful building, I cannot even describe it, really. So much has happened inside of it as well. I especially enjoyed the crypt. Though I found it a little odd that one can get a cup of coffee in it. Oh well, those laid to rest there are likely enjoying Starbucks in the great beyond.

No comments:

Post a Comment