Fleet Street in London is famous as it used to be the centre of the newspaper industry. These days those businesses have moved further out from the City of London. But a building which precedes most others still remains. It is St Bride’s Church. It cannot easily be missed as it has a tall and distinctive steeple. In fact it is the tallest steeple that the famous architect Sir Christopher Wren ever constructed.
These days, it is a couple of metres shorter for in 1764 it was struck by a bolt of lightning which destroyed the top of it. However, there is more to it than just size. Look closely and its shape should remind you of a tiered wedding cake. Urban legend has it that many years ago, a pastry cook by the name of William Rich could see the church from where he worked and had the idea of designing a wedding cake along the same lines as the steeple. Hence the multi-layered wedding cakes we see today.
Besides the steeple, there is great interest within the church itself; more correctly, in the crypt underneath. During the London Blitz of the Second World War, St Bride’s was badly damaged by a German bomb which had the effect of ripping open the crypt. But the action revealed the remains of a Roman house dating back nearly two thousand years.
The crypt is now a museum and you can visit it for free. Inside you will also see the remains of a Roman pavement and a metal coffin which was constructed in order to deter grave robbers.