St. Paul’s Cathedral, its stately dome rising above the City of London as a constant symbol of British history, turned 250 years old in 1960 and was honored for its role as the “Parish Church of the British Commonwealth.” Probably the most significant ceremony that year was held June 7, when English royalty and officialdom gathered for a Service of Thanksgiving at this scene of many great occasions of state. Particular honors during the ceremony were bestowed posthumously on Sir Christopher Wren (1632–1723), the architect who planned and built St. Paul’s. Cathedral Age documented the anniversary for its Autumn 1960 issue.
The sense of history that is so much a part of St. Paul’s is interwoven with the history and romance of England. For thirteen hundred years, St. Paul’s on Ludgate Hill has been an ecclesiastical center of great events and worship, in times of national rejoicing, mourning or thanksgiving. In the Cathedral crypt lie the men who made, or took part in the great events—John Donne, Nelson, Wellington, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir Arthur Sullivan, and Christopher Wren himself.
And it is these men, and the events that are their part of history that are honored in this anniversary of St. Paul’s. It was for them and for St. Paul’s Cathedral that the bells rang out in celebration on Whit Tuesday, June 7, and on many other days through this year. On that Tuesday, preceding the Thanksgiving Service in the cathedral, the peal of bells in the northwest tower was rung by members of the Ancient Society of College Youths, the ringing organization chartered in 1637, which rings the bells of the famous British cathedrals on historic occasions. That day, they rang the bells for Wren’s Cathedral.