Sinclair McKay

Sex and politics in the precincts of St Paul’s Cathedral

The neighbourhood was traditionally a lively hub of pamphleteering, bawdy publications and fashion houses, says Margaret Willes

View of Paternoster Row, once the centre of London’s publishing trade. [Alamy]

In the tight dark maze of alleys that wind between the Thames and St Paul’s the pleasures of the living are intertwined with those of the distant dead.

Try it for yourself on a late Saturday afternoon. Start by immersing yourself in the eerie darkness of the Temple of Mithras (ancient stones, reconstructed Roman voices calling for strong drink, a pagan pit beneath the guileless Bloomberg building); emerge and cross over to the Roman Watling Street, where you will see tribes of Essex women – Boudicca’s spiritual daughters – with faces of bronze, brandishing not fire but fags and lighters...

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in