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As part of the on-going legacy to refurbish and enhance the services provided by St Bride's, not only to the congregation and local business community, but to the passing visitor too, the INSPIRE! Appeal working group suggested an annual Wren Talk, not just to celebrate Wren's many achievements but to also fill a gaping hole in the cultural calendar.
While the focus has been, not surprisingly, on Wren's work as an architect and his many church spires, which still provide the vital glue to the City's skyline, Wren had many other interests including astronomy, mathematics and physics and had an inventive mind, helping to perfect the barometer; he also helped to establish the Royal Society. It is intended to explore some of these other facets of Wren's character in future talks, as well as expanding the content of the talks to discuss current day issues, such as transport, infrastructure and the management of the City urban landscape that effects our lives, work and play in the sprawling City of London and its environs.
Ken Shuttleworth, founder of Make, delivered the second Wren Talk, when he considered how Wren might view the City if he were alive today; Shuttleworth, who is particularly known for working in and around the City of London, (he is the architect behind the Gherkin and City Hall), commented: "Wren would largely be impressed with the City skyline".
The inaugural talk was delivered by leading architect and urbanist Sir Terry Farrell as part of the 2012 London Festival of Architecture. Farrell spoke to a packed St Bride's of Sir Christopher Wren's masterplan for London after the Great Fire - which, of course, was never implemented - as well as his plans for various parts of the capital.
Farrell presented his view that London is a better city for its lack of a 'grand plan' such as that seen in Paris, and Wren's subsequent contribution to the city, the 56 churches and many other buildings is unsurpassed. In his view the best projects going ahead are those that celebrate rather than reinvent what we already have - a message that chimes perfectly with our campaign to save St Bride's, one of Wren's smaller churches but considered his cathedral in Fleet Street.