Just prior to Christmas The Forge hosted the first in a series of events that we will be running over the course of the next 12 months. The premise of these events is quite simple – we want to say thank you to our clients and spend some time with people away from meeting rooms, workshops and debriefs BUT in a way that feels in-keeping with The Forge ethos and our way of working. So as nice as cocktails and canapés at a fancy London bar are, it’s not quite what we were after.
We wanted an experience that was inspired and inspiring. An experience that allowed us to find a new way of looking at something familiar. An experience that unearthed new and interesting stories. An experience that was out of the ordinary. And then we wanted cocktails.
So where else could we start but St Paul’s cathedral. At first sight familiar and known, yet when you dig underneath, you realise just how inspiring, interesting and by no means ordinary it really is.
With the building closed to visitors for the day, we armed ourselves with ‘backstage’ passes and an expert tour guide and were given access to areas of the building not usually open to the public and with it a real insight into the form, function, characters and history of this incredible building.
While many of the party were familiar with the broad history of the building it was inspiring to hear in-depth the less well-known story of the ordeal Wren went through to construct the cathedral as we know it; dragging his vision, kicking and screaming, into life in spite of the fierce opposition and numerous issues which beset the project.
We were also able to explore the famous geometric staircase, see the normally inaccessible mosaic ceilings of the nave, visit the incredible St Paul’s library, view Wren’s great model (a perfect scale-model of the cathedral, effectively his ‘pitch presentation’ and built at the equivalent cost of a grand London house at the time) and wander through the triforium which houses pieces of the previous cathedrals that have existed on the site dating back to William the Conqueror.
At the end of the tour we were treated to a once in a lifetime private performance from the St Paul’s choir and organ scholar. With only 15 of us in the building the sound from the choir was truly breath-taking. To round things off, the organ scholar then treated us to an aural tour of the vast cathedral organ, leaving us all in absolutely no doubt as to why Queen Elizabeth has banned the use of the horns over the main doors when she is attending services there; a spectacular, thunderous sound the likes of which we’d never experienced before.
The evening was genuinely a once in a lifetime experience and while this event is never to be repeated, we will be running other equally interesting and inspiring events throughout the year. If you’d like to be included on the invite list for the kind of events you won’t get invited to elsewhere, then please do contact a member of The Forge team or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
With thanks to Luke's Photos for the image