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Paternoster Square is an urban development, owned by the Mitsubishi Estate Co., next to St Paul's Cathedralmarker in the City of Londonmarker, Englandmarker. In 1942 the area, which takes its name from Paternoster Row, centre of the London publishing trade, was devastated by aerial bombardment in The Blitz during World War II. It is now the location of the London Stock Exchange which relocated there from Threadneedle Streetmarker in 2004, and of investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Nomura Securities Co..

1960s

Between 1961 and 1967 the block between St Paul's Churchyard and Newgate Streetmarker was redeveloped according to a scheme by William Graham Holford. The new Paternoster Square soon became unpopular, and (in the eyes of many) its grim presence immediately north of one of the capital's prime tourist attractions was seen as an embarrassment. Robert Finch, the Lord Mayor of London, wrote in The Guardian in 2004, "The old Paternoster Square was typical: ghastly, monolithic constructions without definition or character".

1980s and 1990s

In the late 1980s, as it became harder to fill leases on the site, there were proposals to redevelop the area. A competition was won in 1987 by Arup associates with a complicated (some said incoherent) postmodern plan. This was abandoned in 1990 in favour of John Simpson's classicising scheme, sponsored by a newspaper competition and championed by the Prince of Wales. Dismissed by supporters of modern architectural styles as pastiche, this plan too was abandoned.

In 1996 a masterplan by William Whitfield was adopted and put into action over the following years. By October 2003 the redeveloped Paternoster square was complete, with buildings by Whitfield's firm and several others. Among the main tenants was the newly relocated London Stock Exchange.

Supporters of the scheme praised it for its harmonious architecture, much of it built in brick and stone like Wren's chapter house for St Paul's (which is integrated into the plan); for its mixture of offices and shops; and for its coherent organization of space by means of a large central piazza and urban walkways that cut through the block in logical ways to tie it into the surrounding urban fabric.

Critics called the architecture banal; dismissed the mixed-use credentials of any development that incorporated no housing (on weekends outside peak tourist season, they claimed, the pedestrian zone would be dead, its shops and restaurants empty); and denied that, consisting as it did mainly of a few large office blocks, it represented a new departure in urban planning.

Monuments and sculpture

The main monument in the redeveloped square is the 23m tall Paternoster Square Column. It is a Corinthian column of Portland stone topped by a gold leaf covered flaming copper urn, which is illuminated by fibre-optic lighting at night. The column was designed by the architects Whitfield Partners.

At the north end of the square is the bronze Shepherd and Sheep by Dame Elisabeth Frink. The statue was commissioned for the previous Paternoster Square complex in 1975 and was replaced on a new plinth following the redevelopment.

Temple Barmarker was rebuilt there in 2004.

References

Gallery

Image:Paternoster square column.jpg|Paternoster Column in Paternoster SquareImage:paternoster.square.column.arp.500pix.jpg|Paternoster ColumnImage:Paternoster_Square_2.JPG|Paternoster Square at nightImage:Paternoster Square - Statue of Man driving Sheep - London - 240404.jpg|Shepherd and Sheep by Dame Elisabeth Frink; Paternoster Square was long the site of a livestock market.

Trivia

Pater noster in Latin means "Our Father" in English

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