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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
18th November 1905 George Bernard Shaws Major Barbara, premieres in London
18th November 1852 State funeral of duke of Wellington (London)
18th November 1836 Born today: William Schwenck Gilbert, London, composer (Gilbert and Sullivan)
St Brides Wedding Cake
Wren's ancient church who rebuild inspired tiered wedding cakes
Location: Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 8AU
Description: St Bride's is named after St Bridget (Bride) of Kildare, of the 5th century ad, and is the eighth church to stand on this site.
The present church was rebuilt after the Great Fire by Sir Christopher Wren in 1671-78 and was his second most costly church after St Mary-le-bow.
The layered spire rises 226 feet and was added in 1701. Originally 8 feet higher until the top was lost in a thunder storm in 1764. It inspired the modern wedding cake, when a local baker, William Rich, modelled a wedding cake for his daughter on the spire. Other bakers soon followed suit and the spire has been known as the 'wedding-cake steeple' ever since.
Wartime bombing in 1940 badly damaged it, and during renovations in the crypt the remains of a Roman house were found. These and other artefacts in the crypt museum tell the story of the church. Among the exhibits is a lockable coffin from the 18th century when body-snatching was commonplace.