Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Class 2 Continued - Visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral Library (02/07/2013?

After an amazing tour at the Barbican Public Lending Library (see prior post for more details about that fantastic tour), the BSP library students were introduced to the library at St. Paul’s Cathedral (
Ruins from a burned down church, awaiting restoration. 

First, to get to the library, we walked up 140 spiral steps, steps that were used in some filming of the Harry Potter movies (gasp!). Once we entered the upstairs area, named the tri forium level, our guide Joseph Wisdom began to tell us all about the history of the building. From learning a bit about the architect, Christopher Wren, to looking at mosaics to seeing viking texts, a style which is called Ringerike, there was an abundance of things to look at before we even entered the library. Mr. Wisdom even took us out on a balcony to look out over the cathedral, a sight that is truly unlike any other. However, despite the amazing view of the whole cathedral, the most interesting part of this tour was seeing all the broken pieces of stone that were shelved on the walls. We learned that all of these pieces belonged to a church that was burned down, and now they are housed here and awaiting restoration. 

Dream come true:
I know now how Belle felt in Beauty and the Beast
After learning a little about the cathedral, Mr. Wisdom took us into the library. Walking into this room, I felt like Belle when the Beast takes her into his library in Beauty and the Beast. The musty leather smell, the floor to ceiling shelves filled with books, the dim lighting and the amount of papers and volumes scattered throughout the area was a dream come true. After taking in the fantastic sensory overload of this room, Mr. Wisdom introduced us to library’s conservation and preservation efforts, told us about the age of the books (some dated from before 1802) and explained to us that the library used a database but it is not accessible to the public, it is strictly for in house needs.
Joseph Wisdom introducing us to some of the library materials. 

Lastly, the lesson that stuck with me was the fact that cathedrals were always about science. This is an association that is not usually made, in fact it is always quite the opposite that is assumed. However, Mr. Wisdom pointed out that with the architecture of cathedrals, the design and the height, these places were often used to observe the laws of gravity, astronomy and other experiments. Never before had I heard this and I thought it was such an interesting tidbit to share. One that I will definitely always remember. 

No comments:

Post a Comment