History & Art
Cathedral Guide Book - £4.95
A comprehensive guide to the Cathedral, exquisitely illustrated.
A Roman Catholic Cathedral like no other
The Architect's Journal described Westminster Cathedral as a 'great religious building which, though clearly rooted in the architectural concerns of the late nineteenth century, has timeless qualities which set it apart from more commonplace works of the age.'
Itself a supreme achievement of art, the Cathedral is home to many distinguished works of artistic merit. True to the vision of its founder, Cardinal Vaughan, successive generations have embellished the great building with decoration of the highest quality. This great house of God reflects the highest aspirations of humanity, and raises the mind toward the glories of heaven.
The following pages provide further background about the Cathedral, including a comprehensive tour of the building.
History of the Cathedral
The Cathedral site was originally known as Bulinga Fen and formed part of the marsh around Westminster. It was reclaimed by the Benedictine monks who were the builders and owners of Westminster Abbey, and subsequently used as a market and fairground. more >>
John Francis Bentley: Cathedral Architect
In June 1900 the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) held an Architectural Congress, and its first visit was to the incomplete Westminster Cathedral. It was a great success, and at the annual dinner Sir William Blake Richmond, RA (best known as designer of the mosaics of St Paul's, and later to advise Bentley on mosaic decoration), declared that "he had very rarely been so impressed as when first entering that original and manly structure" two days previously. more >>
When the Cathedral architect, John Bentley, died in early March 1902, he left no finished mosaics in the Cathedral and very little in the way of Mosaic drawings and designs. It was thus left to future architects, donors and designers supervised, from 1936, by the Cathedral Art Committee, to decide on the mosaics. more >>