St Pauls Cathedral, London - GreenBlue Urban
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St Pauls Cathedral, London


St Pauls Cathedral is one of the most recognisable and famous landmarks in London, offering a place of worship and prayer. This Grade I listed Anglian cathedral serves as the mother church of the diocese of London, sitting on the highest point of the city, Ludgate Hill. The dome of the cathedral has dominated London’s skyline for more than 300 years. From 1710 to 1963 the Cathedral’s spire was the tallest standing at 365 feet high, this demonstrates how London’s skyline and construction industry has drastically enhanced throughout the years.

St Paul’s Cathedral is over 1400 years old and has had to be rebuilt five times. The present cathedral, dating from the late 17th century, was designed in the English Baroque style by Sir Christopher Wren. The construction was challenging due to the largely dominated clay soils in the area. The project was completed in Wren's lifetime as part of a major rebuilding programme in the city, after the Great Fire of London. Unfortunately, the earlier Gothic cathedral was largely destroyed in the Great Fire.

The west front of the Cathedral has been the backdrop to many famous historical events, adopting major media coverage. Services held at St Paul's Cathedral have included the respectful funerals of Admiral Nelson, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. On a more joyous occasion, the Cathedral has also seen the jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria; the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, peace services marking the end of the First and Second World Wars and the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees for our Queen Elizabeth II.

In 2002, GreenBlue Urban were approached by the architect firm, Burns + Nice who had been commissioned by the client Corporation of London to improve the west front entrance of St Paul’s Cathedral. Tree Planting would allow this area to be an attractive place for tourists providing shade as well as offering a calming biophilia effect on the City’s Corporate hub commuters.

Six beautiful Plantanus x Hispanica (London Plane) trees were planted on 22nd May 2003. Today a plaque can be viewed under each tree in remembrance. The plaque states that the trees were planted by Tom Gough, The Master of The Worshipful Company of Gardeners to commemorate the formation of the fraternity of Gardeners 1345.

Burns + Nice allowed enough soil volume below ground to encourage the London Plane’s to grow to maturity. Specified were the worlds very first load-bearing soil cell; RootCell. With vast amounts of uncompacted soil to grow and a steady flow of air and water through GreenBlue’s Hydrogrille inlets and irrigation, these trees have thrived and evidently grown to over 3 storeys high. The success of this case study is evidenced in that the original Tay tree grilles used had to be removed, due to the trunk diameter out growing the above-ground infrastructure.

St Paul’s cathedral will always be a high talking point within the landscape industry. The impact the trees have had on the location aswell as showing the success soil cells have on our green infrastructure in phenomenal. The magnificent height and trunk diameter of these London Plane’s speak for themselves.