St George’s Cathedral

Above: Aerial view from Google Earth of the Cathedral.

The Metropolitan Cathedral Church of St George, usually known as St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark, South London and is the seat of the Archbishop of Southwark.

The first Roman Catholic church to be built in England since the Reformation, it was designed in 1848 by Augustus Pugin and opened on 4 July 1848. It remained the only Catholic cathedral in London until Westminster Cathedral was opened beside Victoria Street about 50 years later.

St George’s was destroyed by fire caused by an incendiary bomb on 16 April 1941, during the Second World War. Much of the original design remains but within the external structure of Pugin’s building, Romilly Craze designed a rebuilt 20th-century Gothic revival Cathedral. The restored building was re-opened on 4 July 1958 – 110 years to the day since its original opening. The building is Grade II listed.

Before the wartime damage, there were two organs, one by Willis and one by Bishop & Son. Both were destroyed. They were replaced by a 72 stop John Compton organ in 1958 although it has since been modified by both Ellis Scothon and by Whitwell Green.

Above: Looking along the nave.

The stained glass in the bombed Cathedral was by the prolific stained glass artist William Wailes. In the rebuilt Cathedral, the window above the West Door shows the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven. The East Window depicts the Crucifixion and Saints of England and Wales. Both East and West windows are by Harry Clarke of Dublin. The stone tracery in the East Window by Pugin.

The cathedral is the Mother Church of the Roman Catholic Province of Southwark which covers the Archdiocese of Southwark (all of London south of the River Thames including Kent and north Surrey) and the Dioceses of Arundel and Brighton, Portsmouth, and Plymouth. It is the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Archbishop of Southwark.

The building stands almost opposite the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth Road.


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