St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham

St Chad's Cathedral, by Pugin.

St Chad's, the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Birmingham, is within easy walking distance from the centre of the city. It is an important work of Pugin.

Pugin was the architect of St Chad's Cathedral, a Gothic structure in brick put up in 1839-41. The emphasis is on height - emphasised in the interior by the slender pillars. This feeling of height is a main reason for the Victorianophile to visit this Cathedral. Far up above, a painted roof. Pillars at the altar end are gilded in spirals, but most of Pugin's interior design has gone. Some of the stained glass in the Chancel is apparently Pugin's, and there is a window by Hardman (a firm much associated with Pugin) in the north transept, and for the seeker after sculpture, best is Pugin's surviving design for the tomb of the cathedral's founder, a certain Bishop Walsh, 1849.

There is late medieval woodwork decoration on the stalls and Bishop's throne, and the ornate pulpit, dating from the 16th Century, has good medieval figures in dark wood. The medieval animals and figures decorating the choir seats remind one of those in the House of Lords.

On the exterior, there are half a dozen stone figures of assorted saints, in a rather unsentimental, almost harsh style, a statue of, presumably, St Chad himself, with a small kneeling figure in front, and wearing a splendidly large mitre, a Virgin and Child with accompanying angels, and two more angels with a coat of arms.

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