Urban Adventures

Paternoster Square - 1940s

Holford's proposed redevelopment of St Paul's Cathedral and surrounding buildings

Proposed redevelopment of St Paul's Cathedral and surrounding buildings, City of London, 1940s
Designer: Holden & Holford
© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections

After World War II Charles Holden and William Holford produced several plans for rebuilding parts of the City of London. Less radical than Emberton's towered landscape, this pragmatic scheme relates more to the scale of St Paul's.

Paternoster Square was built to designs put forward by Holford in 1956. Situated north of the cathedral, the area was devastated by the Blitz and bombs had destroyed much of the site's history, accumulated since the Great Fire of 1666. The fine medieval street pattern was done away with and in its place were Modernist slab blocks at right angles to St Paul's, with raised platforms for pedestrians and the ground level given to cars. The design failed to achieve a sense of civic purpose. Once again, this area was completely transformed when demolition began in 1999; the construction of new buildings sympathetic to the Classical style was completed in 2003 and public streets were reinstated at ground level.

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