St. Bride's review
There are so many churches in London that it's impossible to see them all. But let me give you a piece of advice: St. Bride's is one of the ones that you need to visit. You'll find it tucked away inside a little courtyard off Fleet Street, hemmed in by the houses. It's so tightly guarded by houses that's it practically impossible to get a decent picture of the outside.
I sometimes use this place as one of my coffee stops when I'm strolling up to St. Paul's, because there's a little tea cart outside the front porch. The guy is always sitting on his stool reading his book, wrapped up in a hat that is two sizes bigger than his head. It's the kind of tea that melts your teeth. The steam that rises off the top is practically a flame.
It's only a tiny little church inside, but it's not far off being St. Paul's Cathedral. Christopher Wren was a busy boy in the 1670s, because not only did he build the cathedral, he also found time to build him fifty two little brothers. The decoration is amazing (although not original to Wren). Everything is made out of carved wood and marble. The only paint they could find was gold paint, and they've covered every jut and column top in it. It's the kind of place that makes you get up early on a Sunday morning to sing songs about a guy that you don't even believe in. I wish he did exist -- he should exist! Then I could come here and praise the guy who built it.
But wait... there's more. Adolf Hitler clumsily dropped a bomb on it during the war, and demolished everything except for the steeple and the outer walls, but he made up for it by uncovering a hidden crypt. And much like the little museum that's hiding underneath All Hallows by the Tower, this one similarly goes unnoticed by 95% of Londoners. If you took a poll of everyone walking down the street, then I guarantee that hardly any of them will have heard of this crypt. But what a place! It's full of tombstones and wonky walls, and a tessellated pavement that dates back to Roman times. They've got solid stone masonry on show from the Saxon period. They've got archaeological pots and pennies, medieval stonework, and decorated floor tiles from before the Great Fire of London... it's just like a time capsule. There's nearly two thousand years of history hiding quietly beneath this church.
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