You can't talk about London for long without coming across Sir Christopher Wren, the chief architect who rebuilt London after the Great Fire of London. Much of his work survives today, including his masterpiece, St Paul's Cathedral, he is aptly buried there beneath a stone that proclaims as much!
Wren was remarkable for one another reason. He lived to be 91 years old – unheard of in the 17th century! So even though he started St Paul's at the relatively ripe age of 34, he lived to see its completion - five monarchs and about thirty years later!
This makes St Paul's the only major cathedral in the world to have been completed in its architect's lifetime. The first stone was laid in 1675 and the last in 1710. You can still see one of the houses Wren occupied during this time, across the river at Cardinal Cap Alley, next to Shakespeare's Globe.
Wren himself hung around building churches and most of the rest of London until 1723, when he died after catching a chill.
For more on the battles Wren fought for his masterpiece, see our blog The fight for St Paul's.