A message from the Chairman of
The Friends of Coventry Cathedral
Boxing Day 2023
THIS YEAR YOU are invited to re-live the historic events of New Year’s Eve 1958 when the spiritual life of Coventry Cathedral moved from the Cathedral Ruins to the site of the new building.
In 1958 Provost Howard (above) carried a flame from the Ruins altar into the Chapel of the Cross in the new Cathedral undercroft. He handed the light to his successor, Provost Williams, who in turn lit the candles on the altar of the new Chapel that was then consecrated by Rt. Rev. Cuthbert Bardsley, Bishop of Coventry. For the next four years the Cathedral congregation worshipped there while upstairs the new Cathedral was being completed.
That evening’s events hit the headlines and were broadcast live across the world by the BBC. Bishop Bardsley was later presented by the BBC with a 25-minute film of the evening’s highlights for him to share across the Diocese.
The Friends of Coventry Cathedral will show this historic film on New Year’s Eve in the Cathedral’s John Laing Centre immediately before the service of evening prayer.
New Year's Eve timetable
3pm Light refreshments served.
3.30pm Film – Blessing of the Altar of the Cross.
4pm Evening Prayer.
Venue - The John Laing Centre, Coventry Cathedral (enter through the west screen)
The Cathedral Undercroft 1958
Provost Williams (left) arrived in Coventry in 1958 when the undercroft was just finished. He arranged for the area that was originally designed as a chair store to be made into the Chapel of the Cross (right).
New Year's Eve 1958
Trumpeters of the 16th/5th The Queen's Royal Lancers (photo) heralded the consecration of the Chapel of the Cross with a fanfare specially commissioned for the occasion. The Cathedral Choir sang anthems that were also specially commissioned. In the photo Bishop Cuthbert Bardsley stands at the altar in front of Geoffrey Clarke's glowing cross - given to the Cathedral by Basil Spence, its architect.