London, Catholic Cathedral, Westminster
On the back:
A Landmark of Westminster, made prominent by its high campanile and byzantine style of structure. From design by by the late J.F. Bentley. When completed will be the handsomest Catholic Cathedral in England. The Eucharistic Congress specially represented from Rome, and the subsequent procession of Catholic Dignitaries rarely if even seen before in England created a prominence of public interest unparalleled in recent years. A part of old Tothill Fields prison formerly occupied this site.
Publisher: J.J. Corbyn, Westminster, London
Virtual tour (official website)
In the late 19th century, the Roman Catholic Church’s hierarchy had only recently been restored in England and Wales, and it was in memory of Cardinal Wiseman (who died in 1865, and was the first Archbishop of Westminster from 1850) that the first substantial sum of money was raised for the new cathedral. The land was acquired in 1884 by Wiseman’s successor, Cardinal Manning, having previously been occupied by the second Tothill Fields Bridewell prison. After two false starts in 1867 (under architect Henry Clutton) and 1892 (architect Baron von Herstel), construction started in 1895 under Manning’s successor, the third archbishop, Cardinal Vaughan, with John Francis Bentley as architect, and built in a style heavily influenced by Byzantine architecture.
The cathedral opened in 1903, a year after Bentley’s death. One of the first public services in the cathedral was Cardinal Vaughan’s requiem; the cardinal died on 19 June 1903. For reasons of economy, the decoration of the interior had hardly been started and still much remained to be completed. Under the laws of the Catholic Church at the time, no place of worship could be consecrated unless free from debt and having its fabric completed. The consecration ceremony took place on 28 June 1910, although the interior was never finished.
The Altar, St Gregory’s Chapel, Westminster Cathedral
The Gates, Blessed Sacrament Chapel