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Old 05-01-2011, 11:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,948
How good are the lines of sight in Westminster Abbey?

If you saw any of the royal wedding on television, you'd notice that there are an awful lot of columns inside Westminster Abbey, and also what appears to be a big "gate" before you get to the altar. They also had a number of trees in there.

So how good a view would the average attendant have been able to get of the couple as they took their vows? And did they have a CCTV system for those who wouldn't be able to get a good view?

A quick Google search didn't really yield a good picture I could use as an example, but I did find one of the aforementioned "gate" here (maybe someone can come in here and tell me the formal name for this) -
Old 05-01-2011, 12:21 PM
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: A better place to be
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The gate is just that: the gate through which celebrant and attendants pass through the chancel rail. The chancel is the area at the "front" of a church where the priest or bishop typically celebrates the Eucharist and distributes communion -- communicants wishing to receive would traditionally come forward and kneel at the rail to receive, though today there's something of a tendency to receive standing.

The chancel rail sets off the chancel from the nave, where the congregation sits. In larger churches such as Westminster Abbey there's an area at the front of the nave called the choir; the architectural choir, an area of the building, is where the choir (=vocal musical ensemble) sits.

Some older English churches have a rood screen, a framework of sorts which can be seen through (i.e., it's latticework, not solid) with the purpose of supporting a cross ("rood") overhead. IIRC they had gone out of fashion well before the Reformation, and I don't believe the Abbey has one.
Old 05-01-2011, 05:08 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: London
Posts: 1,287
The sight lines inside the Abbey are fine depending on what you want to look at. As you can see in this image from 1911 (no reason, I just like it), the choir screen entirely blocks the view at ground level. Most of the people inside the Abbey would have been able to see nothing at all. It also has very narrow aisles, a deliberate decision by its builders to try to make it seem taller. It's a pretty impressive building, but the ordinary people being able to see the show wasn't part of the thought process when they built it.
Old 05-01-2011, 05:14 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Dayton Ohio USA
Posts: 26,864
Trees? Really? was there a waterfall too?
Old 05-01-2011, 06:24 PM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: on the porch
Posts: 7,855
no waterfall. the trees (i believe) were part of the wedding decor. waterfall with gurgling brook, twittering birds, and frolicking fauna were vetoed.

the 6 maples and 2 hornbeams will move on to highgrove, the prince of wales' estate, where they will have to listen to him go on and on and on about this, that, and the other.
Old 05-01-2011, 08:40 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 14,421
Kate wanted trees for her wedding. So she got trees for her wedding.
Old 05-01-2011, 09:12 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: UK
Posts: 9
Westminster Abbey, like a lot of the European cathedral buildings is laid out in a cross shape.

Lots of them also have some sort of barrier/gate that keep the rabble away from the actual altar area. In the case of Westminster, there's also the issue of the floor immediately in front of the altar. It's a mosaic that dates back to at least mediaeval times and was until recently carpeted over. though there was an on going restoration long before they got engaged.

It's that sort of history shit that keeps bringing the tourists, particularly when somewhere that historic is still in use, especially for an existing royal family.

I'd guess that there would have been video screens of some sort, otherwise how would those sitting in the two "arm" of the cross layout have heard or seen whats going on.

Hell, even the TV people did a good job of hiding all the cabling for lights and cameras etc.....
Old 05-01-2011, 09:56 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Scotland
Posts: 10,616
Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
Trees? Really? was there a waterfall too?
Her new father-in-law was allowed to invite some of his friends too.

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