Celebrating 50 years of Clifton Cathedral

The entrance to Clifton Cathedral has been given a new look as part of the celebrations marking the building’s fiftieth anniversary.

    “With a rich tapestry of faith, history and community, this remarkable milestone deserved a grand celebration,” said Cathedral Dean Canon Bosco MacDonald.  “One of the standout features of our jubilee celebrations was the laying of a beautiful polished granite stone.

 “The newly resurfaced cathedral entrance now has a stone at its centre, engraved with the motto of the Bishop of Clifton, the Right Reverend Bishop Declan Lang, which is Evangelii Nuntiandi – (Proclaiming the Gospel).”

  Some of the first people to see it were the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester who attended a Solemn Mass marking the cathedral’s jubilee.

    They were joined by the Lord Lieutenant of Bristol, Peaches Golding, the Anglican Bishop of Bristol, the Right Reverend Viv Faull, and various civic and church dignitaries. 

    The cathedral, dedicated to SS Peter and Paul was consecrated in 1973  by the then Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Heenan. He described the cost of the cathedral – £600,000 – as “the ecclesiastical bargain of the century.”

     It had taken just three years to build and was the first cathedral to be constructed  in the West Country since the war. The cathedral was also said to be the fastest such project then undertaken in Britain since the Middle Ages. 

    Canon MacDonald describes the cathedral as “a testament to stunning modern architecture with its blend of traditional and contemporary design making it a unique place of worship”. 

    The architects  chose reinforced concrete for the cathedral as having great durability while its mass reduced external noise and assisted thermal storage. The concrete was clad in large panels of Aberdeen granite of a pinkish-brown colour     

     Part of the architects’ brief was to devise enough space inside the cathedral to seat 1,000 people who would be able to see the altar without any columns or other obstruction in the way. 

    The building is crowned by three spires rising 167 feet from the top of a lantern tower and dominating the Clifton skyline. 

     Clifton Cathedral was named by the Concrete Society as the best concrete building completed in England in 1973.