Code Finder

Find the product codes you need by filtering from our whole product range.

Find Codes
Code Finder

The Whispering Gallery of St Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul’s is an Anglican cathedral in the City of London, England. It is the seat of the Bishop of London and serves as the mother church of the Diocese of London. Located on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London, built by architect Sir Christopher Wren it is a masterpiece in the English Baroque Style. 

Rising from the ashes of the Great Fire of London in 1666, Wren began designing St Paul’s in 1668. Wren’s revisions to the design in 1685–86 created a podium for a vast, richly modelled Dome, inspired by those of Michelangelo’s St Peter’s in Rome (1547–90) and Jules Hardouin-Mansart’s Invalides church in Paris (1677–91).  

The first service was held in the current cathedral in 1697 with the building officially declared complete in 1711. St Paul’s is home to a spectacular array of art – from the delicate carvings of Grinling Gibbons in the quire to Sir James Thornhill's gilded dome murals which rise above the Whispering Gallery. Modern works created by many decorated artists, including Yoko Ono and Antony Gormley, enrich the daily pattern of worship in the Cathedral. 

It became a symbol of London’s strength when it stood amid mountains of rubble during the bombing of World War II, there has been a place of worship on this site since late Roman times and has gone through multiple destructions and reconstructions. 

Sir Christopher Wren presented a 1:24 scale model, still preserved in the cathedral crypt. The original design called for a small dome with a spire on top, but King Charles II gave Wren full freedom to modify the design to his liking, and the architect inserted a large central dome, consisting of three overlapping domes and two steeples on the west side.  
Inside the dome, frescoed with trompe-l'oeil paintings by James Thornhill, there are three distinct spaces, called galleries or loggias: the Whispering Gallery, named for the fact that if you speak a word near the wall, you can hear it from anywhere; ascending 119 steps leads to the Stone Gallery, which surrounds the base of the dome; another 152 steel steps finally lead to the Golden Gallery. 

As part of a project to install new safety railings to the Whispering Gallery, the lighting to the famous gallery was also upgraded with new LED fixtures supplied by iGuzzini.  

This is the first phase of a programme to modernize St Paul's interior lighting, which, designed by Speirs Major Light Architecture around 25 years ago, currently consists of a combination of dimmed halogen lights and metal halide fixtures.  

Working to refresh the original Whispering Gallery scheme, and with the requirement that the replacement scheme did not bring attention to the new safety railings or their support structure, CBG Light Perceptions specified iGuzzini’s Linealuce Compact 47 linear fixtures with a Warm White colour temperature Flood optic, to replace 64m of cold cathode fixtures that provided uplight to the beautiful gilded Tijou railings.  

For Thornhill's frescoes, which decorate the dome above, Palco floodlights were chosen, with Super Spot and Medium optics and 2700K colour temperature, which are independently controlled to highlight important elements of the painting. These fixtures replaced a combination of floodlights that used metal halide and halogen sources.  

An extra safety feature added to the gallery is a series of iGuzzini custom-made, hidden emergency lights that can be used to provide low-level lighting to the floor of the gallery and highlight the exit doors in an emergency. 

The installation of the entire system was conducted by Electricians from the Cathedral Works Department. 


Working on a similar project?

Need more information?
Make Enquiry

  • Year
  • Client
    Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral
  • Original Lighting design:
    Speirs Major Light Architecture
  • LED upgrade design:
    CBG Light Perceptions - Bruce Kirk
  • Electrical installation:
    St Paul’s Cathedral Works Department
  • Photographer
    James Newton