Archive Item of the Week: The Cost of Building a new Cathedral

Welcome to Archive item of the week:  where we delve into Guildford Cathedral Archives to highlight some if the unique items within the collection.

This week: Fundraising.  Our People’s Cathedral Archivist brings you an insight into just what it took to build a new cathedral when the country was right on the brink of the Second World War.


The decision to create the Diocese of Guildford was made in 1927 and was formed from part of the Diocese of Winchester.


Building work was started in 1936 following a competition among architects as to the design of the cathedral – Sir Edward Maufe was the winning architect.  But in order to build a new magnificent Cathedral an awful lot of hard work had to go on to raise the funds to get the building work started and to keep it going.



It is well known that there was a great amount of community involvement to get the building completed once the work started back up again after the war in 1954, which led to the phrase ‘People’s Cathedral’ being coined.  But there was still just as much community involvement in raising the funds for the Cathedral even before World War Two broke out.



Even when War had been declared in 1939 the Provost was still optimistic that building work could continue and that funds were still steadily coming in which meant that the building work could continue.



Of course with the benefit of hindsight we can look back and now that this was not meant to be and that once again a huge amount of community spirit had to be drawn upon to ensure that Sir Edward Maufe’s vision became a reality.