Design for St Stephen Walbrook, City of London: transverse section and detail of the internal vaulting to a smaller scale
Sir Christopher Wren
RIBA no. SC2/9 (2)
RIBA Library Drawings Collection
Sir Christopher Wren's churches were intended to be what he called 'auditories', in which everyone present could see, hear and feel themselves part of the congregation. A well-lit interior was imperative, with the minimum of obstruction from internal supports. The geometry of St. Stephen's church is perfectly rectangular. The window arches are the main sources of light. The original church was destroyed in the Great Fire of London of 1666. Wren was commissioned to design the new church amongst other projects. Once again the church was badly damaged during the bombing of the Second World War. The steeple was not built until 1713 -1717. Walbrook is named after the Walbrook River, the original water source which attracted people to the area during Roman times.
Wren (1632-1723) was one of the world's greatest architects and his buildings dominated London's skyline from 1660 until the mid 1900s. He designed the new St. Paul's Cathedral and the building of over fifty new churches following the Great Fire of London, Chelsea Hospital and Greenwich Hospital, Trinity College Library at Cambridge, and he was to improve and extend Hampton Court. After the Rebuilding Act of 1670, he was responsible for the Monument to the Great Fire of London.
This drawing can be found in RIBA Print Room Box 'Exploring Skylines'.