The restoration of the Temple Church in the early 1840s was a major triumph for ecclesiology and a minor tragedy for several of the individuals involved. Natural hazards, from the Great Fire to Hitler's bombs, and the fashions of taste, from the age of Wren to the age of Pugin, have combined to make the Temple Church an architectural palimpsest of extraordinary interest. Its construction during the 12th and 13th centuries had been a milestone in the development of the Gothic style. The alterations of the 17th and 18th centuries represent an interesting commentary on the vagaries of liturgical fashion. Its restoration during the 19th century was an early landmark in the history of the Gothic Revival. Its partial destruction in 1941 made possible the most drastic and the most accomplished restoration of all.
Both the Inner and Middle Temple contributed to the remarkable expansion of public building during the post-Napoleonic period. In 1819 both societies appointed a new architect with a mandate for reconstruction. The Inner Temple chose Robert (later Sir Robert) Smirke.
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