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: Plans that didn’t happen. Our People’s Cathedral Archivist takes a look into the planning and organisation for a new build Cathedral.
As is well known Guildford Cathedral is a modern Cathedral in comparison with many of the great Cathedrals in the South of England alone (notably Winchester and Canterbury) which inevitably means that our archives differ greatly to these magnificently ‘old’ Cathedrals. However this does create some positives – mainly that we can see a lot of the planning and wrangling that went into building a great new Cathedral for the 20th Century.
This week we bring you an example of some of the plans and correspondence that was constantly ongoing throughout the extended building works for Guildford Cathedral. The interesting thing in this case is that they reflect extensive planning and organisation for a part of the Cathedral that never came to be – the Canada Chapel.
You may wonder why a Cathedral in leafy Surrey was even planning a Canada Chapel. The Canada Chapel was to intended to commemorate the association between Canada and Guildford Diocese which built up during the two world wars.
During the First World War Canadian volunteers were stationed in Aldershot, which sits within the Guildford Diocese, as well as there being a base in Witley.
When the Second World War broke out once again the Diocese of Guildford welcomed Canadian soldiers – many were stationed in Aldershot once again in 1939, and were based throughout the Diocese in Guildford, Witley and Leatherhead throughout the duration of the war, and were very active in defending West Surrey when threat of invasion was imminent.
All in all the Canadian soldiers played an important role in the diocese of Guildford throughout the two world wars.
Therefore from the outset it was deemed fitting that this link was commemorated in the Canada Chapel. Plans were thus drawn up detailing how the Chapel as shown by this drawing by the architect Sir Edward Maufe.
Edward Maufe also wrote detailed notes on the design and layout of the Chapel which is shown in these notes.
Fundraising was also undertaken to raise the money for this chapel and the Canadian Veterans Association in the United Kingdom set up a committee with the aim of sponsoring the project and encouraged donations for the project.
Unfortunately this Chapel never came to be built in the completed Guildford Cathedral but the records in the archive serve as a memory of what could have been.