On this day (October 20) in 1632 in Wiltshire, England, Sir Christopher Wren was born, an English scholar —anatomist, astronomer, geometer and mathematician-physicist. As well as one of the most acclaimed English architects in history.
One of Wren's friends, another great scientist and architect and a colleague of the Westminster Schoolboy, Robert Hooke (one of the greatest experimental physicists in history) said of him: "Since the time of Archimedes hardly has found in a man such perfection, such a mechanical hand and such a philosophical mind.”
Sir Wren did research in various fields of science such as astronomy, optics, meteorology, agriculture, ballistics, on water and its freezing, on light and refraction, to name just a few. In the book "The History of the Royal Society (1756-1757)" by Thomas Birch he collects the records of most of Wren's known scientific works.
But one of the fields where he shone the most was architecture. At that time the architecture was not as it is today. Architecture was more of a secondary activity of applied mathematics. At that time, the buildings had been built according to the needs of the owner and the suggestions of construction professionals, such as master carpenters or master masons.
Sir Wren went deeper and deeper into architecture with trips to Paris included where he made first-hand studies of modern design and construction.
Sir Wren was starting to build according to the knowledge acquired from him but his big break came with the Great Fire of the City of London in 1666 which devastated the city. He was appointed Commissioner for Rebuilding the City of London (Commissioner for Rebuilding the City of London) that same year, he carried out a survey of the area destroyed by the fire with the help of three inspectors, one of them Robert Hooke.
Sir Wren drew a new plan of the city with great avenues that radiated from a central space but that collided with the interests of the landowners. He also saw to the rebuilding of 51 churches and the rebuilding of what would become the high point of his reputation, St Paul's Cathedral.
Sir Wren's works are long and many can still be admired today.
As a curiosity to mention that the fire in London in 1666 was caused because that month of September was very hot. The fire started in a bread oven and because the houses were made of wood and were very close to each other, the fire spread quickly. The fire destroyed;
- 13,200 ,
- 87 ,
- 44 ,
- the «»,
- the House of ,
- the ,
- the ,
- the medieval center correctional palace and other prisons,
- four bridges over the and ,
- three gates of the .
It also left some 80,000 people homeless, a sixth of the city's population at the time.
The records say that very few people died (about 100) but they do not indicate the poor or the middle class, so the number of deaths may have been much higher.
On the day of the funeral of a construction worker, the deceased's wife, crying bitterly, approaches a companion unknown to her relatives, and says:
– Were you friends with him?
– Did you love him very much?
– Yes, his last words were for me
– Oh yeah, and what were they?
– Luciano, don't move the scaffolding!