St. Paul's Cathedral has existed in one form or another at this site for about 1,400 years. Walk up the beautiful spiral staircase (picture the Harry Potter staircase!) and behind closed doors is a fantastic old library-closed to the public. Unlock with a great, old fashioned key and enter a world of incredibly preserved books and the classic smell of an old library. The library at St. Paul's Cathedral was seriously impressive and left me in awe. The Great Fire of 1666 destroyed the original collection, however it was built up again starting in 1712. The image here, obtained from http://www.stpauls.co.uk/Cathedral-History/The-Library, shows a small corner of the library that I was able to feast my eyes upon.
Joe Wisdom, Librarian, imparted some very interesting knowledge of this gorgeous, old cathedral and library. We were able to access a few areas that are usually closed to the general public. How lucky I felt to be standing among books that dated from the early 1600s and covered topics from theology, philosophy, church history and more. It was overwhelming to take in a room full of history so carefully preserved, from rare manuscripts, books, and artifacts behind glass windows. To witness these artifacts and to imagine the time and hands they have passed through is an incredible opportunity. The masonry and design of the room emitted an aura of learning-from the sculpted wheat, grapes and books on the walls, to the tall stacks full of historic wonder. The librarians strive for minimal intervention-so while we could not walk around the room I was still able to appreciate the conservation of over 20,000 historic items.
See for yourself at http://www.stpauls.co.uk/Cathedral-History/The-Library