The Buildings Of Sir Christopher Wren Mapped

By M@ Last edited 15 months ago
The Buildings Of Sir Christopher Wren Mapped
Click/tap for zoomable version in Google maps, or see below

You've seen his big cathedral and probably know some of the churches, but did you know that Sir Christopher Wren was this prolific?

Wren (1632-1723) designed or oversaw almost 100 buildings in his long life — from small gatehouses like Temple Bar to the magnificent St Paul's itself. His office was also responsible for many of the churches rebuilt after the Great Fire of London, including such famous spires as St Bride's and St Mary-le-Bow.

But, as the map shows, this is just scratching the surface. Wren's commissions spill far beyond London, and include landmark buildings in Oxford, Cambridge, Longleat and even Lincoln.

Many of his buildings are no longer with us. Numerous City churches, for example, were dismantled in the 19th century amid dwindling congregations, or else damaged beyond repair in the Blitz. As the map shows, however, we can still enjoy exploring the many surviving structures that grace London and other cities.

Some Wren buildings have enjoyed a curious afterlife. You can no longer visit his church of St Mary Aldermanbury in the Square Mile, but you can see it reconstructed in Fulton, Missouri. Its bombed-out stones were shipped out there after the war as a memorial to Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech, given in Fulton. Similarly, the church of All Hallows Lombard Street also migrated west — though not as far. Since 1940, its tower has been part of All Hallows Twickenham.

St Paul's cathedral looking lovely in the winter dusk
Wren's most famous creation at dusk. Image by the author

Attributing buildings to Wren is not always straightforward. Many a "Wren church" was partly masterminded by his colleagues, including Nicholas Hawksmoor and Robert Hooke. We've mapped anything overseen by Wren, even if others did the legwork. We've also included a handful of buildings that were probably designed by Wren, but for which firm evidence is lacking.

A magnificent Wren building - the Royal Hospital Chelsea, showing the central coutryard and clock tower
The Royal Hospital Chelsea. Image by the author

Of course, Wren did many other things in his lifetime. He even drew up a masterplan for rebuilding the entire Square Mile, after most of it burned down in the Great Fire of 1666, which was never put into place. Our map shows only projects completed, and not those he worked on without fruition.

The map draws on several sources, but particularly this list of Wren commissions.

We welcome any additions or corrections to [email protected]

Last Updated 06 January 2023