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21 October 2011

St Paul’s closes doors to public

Occupy London demonstration forces Cathedral to close out public for first time since WWII.

By Alice Gribbin

St Paul’s has been forced to close its doors to the public for the first time in seventy two years due to health and safety concerns.

The Dean of the Cathedral, Reverend Graeme Knowles, released a statement saying that “severly limited” access to and from the building, coupled with the “stoves and fires and lots of different types of fuel” within, clearly made it a fire hazard.

Occupy London campaigners protesting against western capitalism have been camping outside St Paul’s, close to the London Stock Exchange, since last weekend.

The statement goes on:

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The decision to close St Paul’s Cathedral is unprecedented in modern times and I have asked the Registrar to implement emergency procedures whereby the building remains closed but fit for purpose until such a time that we can open safely. Our 200 staff and 100 volunteers are also being informed of this decision this afternoon.

St Paul’s last shut its doors to visitors during the World War II bombings, though Reverend Knowles acknowledges the different nature of the Cathedral’s forced closure this time around, saying:

We are delighted that the London protests have been peaceful . . . There is something profound about protest being made and heard in front of this most holy place: a gathering together of those concerned about poverty and inequality facing the great Dome of this Cathedral Church.

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