Travel An Edwardian gazebo in Kingston, passed as you meander along the river Thames

The Thames Path combines history with nature as it forges towards the capital from Hampton Court Palace

Good Venue Guide: 22: St Paul's Cathedral

Date of Birth: 604; reborn 1710.

Leading article: Political follies under the Dome

IT'S ONLY a dome, Prime Minister, only a shell of a building. At best it's only going to accommodate a leisure event. Does that really justify the preachifying and the chiding and the hyperbole Mr Blair served up yesterday? He compared the Dome to St Paul's, and that is fatuous - not because Richard Rogers is not a fine architect who might conceivably deserve comparison with Christopher Wren - but because the cathedral was built in a Christian age to glorify God, and the transcendental purpose of the Dome is... what? New Labour offers no secular religion. We are - to our credit - these days an incredulous people. Does the Prime Minister intend us to worship at the shrine of technology or try to recover a modernist sensibility in a post-modern age? Politicians tend to make very poor midwives to new world-views. It just won't do for the Prime Minister and his acolytes to talk in these quasi-fundamentalist terms: this was conceived as a temporary structure to house a one-off exhibition. He will be lucky if it works out as well as the Festival of Britain in 1951. The Greenwich Dome will succeed if it provides a good, Disneyesque day out. To put the authority of the British state in play for things as evanescent as those is sheer folly.

Students move into Wren's masterpiece

Greenwich naval college is to have new tenants, writes Mark Rowe

Travel: Forget the beach - try a tomb with a view

Will Diana make graveyards the next big tourist destination? Tony Kelly goes in search of famous names and poetic epitaphs

Greenwich ranks 17th in world

Maritime Greenwich yesterday became the UK's 17th World Heritage Site, ranking it alongside the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and Stonehenge. The decision, announced at a Unesco meeting in Naples, is a recognition of the unique qualities of an area by the Thames in south London that includes Sir Christopher Wren's Royal Naval Hospital, Inigo Jones's Queen's House, the Cutty Sark and Greenwich Park with the Old Royal Observatory.

Religion: Churches win battle to stay open

Proving once again that nothing galvanises a church like persecution, it was confirmed yesterday that all 37 Anglican churches in the City of London are to remain open for worship.

Obituary: George Malcolm

George John Malcolm, harpsichordist, pianist, organist, conductor, choirmaster, composer: born London 28 February 1917; Master of the Cathedral Music, Westminster Cathedral 1947-59; CBE 1965; Papal Knight of the Order of St Gregory 1970; died London 10 October 1997.

How an old pals' act got DIY religion

Roy Porter squares up to the secretive creed that claims to link King Solomon's builder with plumbers and policemen today: Who's Afraid of Freemasons? The phenomenon of Freemasonry by Alexander Piatigorsky

The bean-counter's contract

Cambridge, always one of the nation's great patrons of contempory architecture, may now be ending a commitment to fine design to please its accountants, writes Jack O'Sullivan

ARCHITECTURE: Around the City's pretentious monuments to Mammon hangs a necklace of divinity

Last Saturday I had the privilege of conducting the Friends of Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, on a tour of City of London churches. Those 40 or so churches in the Square Mile that have survived fires, bombs and rapacious commercial development are often locked or, if they are open, their hours are as byzantine as those of their counterparts in Venice. While it would be nice to think that they could be open more often than they are, their secretiveness makes us only the more curious to see inside them.

Outrage as arms firm sponsors St Paul's concert

An Arms firm has paid pounds 15,000 to use a concert at St Paul's Cathedral for corporate hospitality to other defence contractors.

London's front gate in a brewer's backyard

THE SUNDAY WALK; To find old London it is sometimes necessary to leave London. The little- known village of Bulls Cross in Enfield is the starting point for a Hertfordshi re stroll

Letter: No plague

Blackheath can hardly have been named after the Black Death of 1340 when it appears in records of the 11th century, albeit in a variant spelling ("No skeletons in the cupboard", Travel and Money, 16 February). Besides, the name Black Death was coined only as recently as 1823. As for the disposal of victims, the survivors would not have chosen an open treeless plain made up of hard gravel and up a hill as a suitable burial place.

Blackheath: No skeletons in the cupboard

THE SUNDAY WALK

Mortal mortar

The pyramids have lasted thousands of years while the Pompidou Centre is up for a refit after only 25. But so what? It's time we rethought our attitude to our favourite monuments, says
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