Remarkable Photo Shows A War-Damaged St Paul's Cathedral

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By M@
Remarkable Photo Shows A War-Damaged St Paul's Cathedral
Bomb damage to St Paul's Cathedral in the Second World War.

It's often assumed that St Paul's Cathedral got through the Blitz unscathed while all around was destroyed. In fact, the landmark was struck many times, often with significant damage.

The rarely seen photograph above shows the eastern end of the cathedral in October 1940 — six week's into the German bombing campaign. The roof is badly stricken but the presence of workmen and scaffolding suggests that repairs were already underway. Much of the wider City's skyline remains intact despite the carnage, though worse was yet to come.

A hole in St Paul's Cathedral.
Bomb damage inside the cathedral.

The image is taken from the Sphere newspaper, 19 October 1940. As the paper notes:

London has suffered, certainly, but it will be long before the indiscriminate bombing of the Capital produces the havoc and disorder that the Germans wish for. We reproduce this picture to reassure our many friends in all parts of the world that London is still London.

For comparison, here's that same section of roof today (or, in 2014 when we got to clamber all over the thing).

On the roof of St Paul's Cathedral

Historic image (c) Illustrated London News Group, found in the British Newspaper Archive.

Last Updated 17 September 2018