May Cost £200,000 to Rebuild
By a Gil. Reporter
Shock at the sudden loss of Southwark Cathedral in the recent raid over London continues to be felt throughout Catholic circles, and messages of condolence have been arriving at the residence of Archbishop Amigo. It will be tecalled that with Kensington Pro-Cathedral (Our Lady of Victories), St. George's makes the third church of cathedral rank to have succumbed to air bombardment. The second was Cardiff Cathedral, which was destroyed recently.
Many interesting details connected with the important history of St. George's have been coming back to light these days, and among them is the fact that the church together with the Bishop's and Clergy's residences cost £36,000 when built last century. Considerable changes in values since then explain the statement attributed to Archbishop Amigo that the cost of rebuilding the Cathedral alone would now be £200,000.
The very powerful Catholic Committee of the early decades of the last century were respontible for certain characteristics of the destroyed building about which much comment has been made from time to time, among them being the absence of a clerestory which would have been expected, some say, in a building of such proportions, and which would have given additional light to the somewhat sombre interior. Another point whkh often gave rise to discussion was the restricted area of the chancel space, which tended to give an overcrowded appearance during solemn functions.
But such critics overlooked the fact that St George's was not built as a cathedral church where a large chancel would be required, and that the Committee had given the architect, A. W. Pugin, stringent instructions to provide for 3,000 worshippers on the floor of the building. and to make the church as ornate as possible. This of course obliged him to sacrifice many noble features of so large a church, a clerestory included, and to contract the dimensions of chapels and chancel But there are specimens of ancient churches of large dimensions, such as those of Grantham and Yarmouth, which have no clerestories, WHEN THEY REMOVED THE CHANCEL SCREEN It has for a long time been acknowledged that the removal of the handsome stone screen to the west end of the cathedral from its original place under the chancel arch, a move which was severely criticised at the time, was all to the good, as it enabled worshippers to obtain a clearer view of the altar and its ministers. Surmounted as it was by an ancient crucifix carved in Belgium with figures of Mary and John, the screen had long been the admiration of all true lovers of ancient Catholic art.
Readers will recall the picture published last week on our front page of Archbishop Amigo standing next to the lectern of the ruined church. The lectern, richly worked in brass, and made up of wrought metal, consisted of many pieces, and had two large branches for lights. It contained 900 pounds weight of brass, and was presented by the Rev. Daniel Haigh, the convert priest and builder of Erdington Abbey, Birmingham.
CHILDREN AND THE CATHEDRAL
in happier days St. George's Cathedral would, on Sunday last, have been the scene a a happy gathering of children from elementary and secondary schools throughout the diocese presenting to the Bishop the money they had collected during Lent for the orphans and destitute children under the care of the Southwark Catholic Rescue Society.
Although the evacuation of so many schools had prevented this ceremony being held this year even had the Cathedral still been standing, the school children have throughout Lent been making their collection for their less fortunate brothers and sistcrs. Last year the results of evacuation were already being felt and the total amount collected was only half what had been collected in the previous year. The school children had learnt that pessimists were saying that this year the results would be worse than ever and throughout the diocese and even in distant districts to which the children have been evacuated they have been striving heroically to help the orphans. Various schemes have been adopted, including jumble sales, thank offerings for " sirenless " nights, and one school had a series of most interesting fines for children who were late or left their property lying in the playground. As a result of these efforts, many schools have been able to report a much larger contribution than last year, and it is earnestly hoped that the total will surpass the £1.086 6s, 3d. which in 1940 the schools contributed to the Southwark Catholic Rescue Society.