Archive Item of the Week:Designing an important carpet

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

This Week: Carpets.  Our People’s Cathedral Archivist delves into the archive to bring insights into the design process for the interior of the Cathedral.


As with any new building the interior fixtures and fitting have to be planned out and organised before a building is fully ‘complete’ and the cathedral is no exception.  If you have ever visited Guildford Cathedral – or indeed any other Cathedral – you will have noticed all the aspects of the interior that add up to make a beautiful building and it could be something as small and often barely noticed as the carpet.


Guildford Cathedral was designed by architect Sir Edward Maufe after winning a competition in 1932, beating 183 entries, and he did a stunning job producing such a stunningly beautiful interior with reference to the Gothic architecture so predominant in other English Cathedrals.

It may not be so well known that the interior textiles of the Cathedral were heavily under the control and design of Lady Prudence Maufe – the wife of the architect.  Lady Prudence had ample experience and expertise to undertake this task as an interior designer, becoming a director at Heal’s.


Within our archive we have fascinating glimpses into the involvement that Lady Prudence had on the interiors of the Cathedral.  For example she was heavily involved in the production of the Carpet at the High Altar, it was designed by Sir Edward but Lady Prudence was very involved in the production.

wilton carpets016.jpg


The carpet was designed by Wilton Carpets who are a highly respected company with over 400 years history of weaving carpets.  Within the Archives we have a collection of correspondence between Lady Maufe and Wilton Carpets with regards to the manufacture.

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And with thanks for Wilton Carpets Commercial we now have a fascinating photograph of the team busy weaving the Guildford Cathedral Carpet – an intriguing insight into the workmanship involved

Axminster carpet produced for Guildford Cathedral
Image courtesy of Wilton Carpets Commercial