Admiral Lord Edward Russell and the Building of St Paul’s Cathedral
A late seventeenth century shipwreck with a cargo of sixty-six tonnes of Carrara marble illustrates the link between the Mediterranean Command and marble imports. English foreign policy then required commercial and naval expansion into the Mediterranean. Leghorn, a major trade and naval base, exported, inter alia, Carrara marble. The marble needed for building St. Paul’s cathedral was bought directly, or acquired from merchants, the King’s stockpile or prizes. In 1694, the site building office requested Admiral Lord Edward Russell, commander-in-chief, to arrange for collection of marble building blocks from Leghorn or Genoa.