St Paul's opens its doors to photographers for one night only as part of fundraising initiative #SurpriseStPauls

Catherine Neilan
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St Paul's has opened its doors to photographers for the first time in its history, allowing 300 ticketholders a rare opportunity to capture the inside of the cathedral.

The iconic building, designed by Sir Christopher Wren following the Great Fire of London, usually operates a strict no-photos policy “in an attempt to help preserve the spiritual life and peace of this working church”.
Each of the 300 photographers paid £10 for the privilege, with the money going directly to St Paul's fundraising efforts, to maintain the fabric of the cathedral.

The photographers get down to work (Source: St Paul's Cathedral)
The results of #SurpriseStPauls have now been submitted to a competition, with the winner being awarded “exclusive” prizes, including having their winning image placed on display at the newly-reopened Cathedral Chapter House.
The winner will also receive a private tour inside St Paul’s, for them and up to five friends, led by the cathedral’s surveyor to the fabric, Olive Caroe, before being treated to a traditional hibachi or benihana dinner.
Sandy Nairne, outgoing director of the National Portrait Gallery and chair of St Paul's fabric advisory committee, will select the ultimate winner.

Surprise St Paul's was a serious business (Source: St Paul's Cathedral)

It follows a similar competition ran last year, in which photographers were invited to snap the outside of the building.
City A.M. has been allowed to reproduce a select handful below, but you can view all the entries on the St Paul's Flickr account.
Matthew Lagden, Director of Development at St Paul’s, said: “Whether the photo shows the length of the cathedral from the very west end or a tiny detail picked out with a long lens, we are looking forward to seeing all entries. And the theme is such that you have as good a chance of winning if you have top camera equipment or just a smartphone.”

Source: Siobhan Gallagher/St Paul's Cathedral

Source: Davide D'Amico/St Paul's Cathedral

Source: Barbara Kovarik/St Paul's Cathedral