Blackburn Cathedral

Blackburn Cathedral

Infobox UK cathedral
building_name =Blackburn Cathedral
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location =Blackburn
full_name =Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin with St Paul
geo =
latitude =
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county =Lancashire
country =England
ecclesiastical =yes
denomination =Church of England
province =York
diocese =Blackburn
bishop =Nicholas Reade
dean =Christopher Armstrong
organist =
website = [ www.blackburn.]
building =yes
architect =John Palmer
W.A. Forsyth
Laurence King
architecture_type =
architecture_style =Gothic Revival (Decorated)
became_cathedral =1926
number_of_cathedrals =
year_built =1820-1967
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Blackburn Cathedral, officially known as the Cathedral Church of Blackburn Saint Mary the Virgin, is a cathedral situated in the heart of Blackburn town centre, in Lancashire, England. The cathedral site has been home to a church for over a thousand years and the first stone church was built on there in Norman times.


With the creation of the Diocese of Blackburn in 1926 (taken from the Diocese of Manchester) the impressive parish church of St Mary the Virgin was raised to cathedral status. The church, which was built in 1826 and designed by architect John Palmer, now forms the cathedral's nave.

In the early 1930s, fundraising began to enlarge the cathedral so that the building complemented its newfound importance. By 1938, enough money had been raised and work began on enlarging the new cathedral. Although work was interrupted by the war, it was resumed afterwards and continued through the 1950s and into the early 1960s. After the death of architect W.A. Forsyth in 1950, architect Laurence King joined the project and designed the distinctive lantern tower. The lantern tower, which consists of 56 different panes of coloured glass and an aluminium spire, was completed in 1967.

The cathedral was finally completed in 1977 and what had been built over the past decades was finally consecrated as Blackburn Cathedral.



At Blackburn cathedral there are 7 choirs — Boys, Girls, Children's, Lantern Voices, YPC (Young Peoples' Choir), Men and Renaissance (Bach) Choir. On Sundays the Parish Communion is sung by the YPC and the Eucharist and Evensong by the Cathedral Choir (Boys and Men).


[ Details of the organ from the National Pipe Organ Register]


* 1916 Herman Brearley
* 1939 Thomas Lucas Duerden
* 1964 John Bertalot
* 1983 David Cooper
* 1994 Gordan Stewart
* 1998 Richard Tanner

Recent developments

In 1998, the lantern tower underwent restoration, being rebuilt in natural stone (the original 1960s tower was constructed in concrete) and the windows were replaced.

Further work was carried out in 2000–1 to re-build the east end roofs and parapets and blend them into the existing structures. Upon completion of this work the cathedral was finally deemed to be finished after over 70 years of construction. As well as this rebuilding a new piece of art was commissioned. The 35 foot by 26 foot sculpture, which has been named 'The Healing of The Nations' is an abstract steel and copper circular piece which contains thousands of interwoven fibre optics that create ever-changing patterns of light. It is deemed by many as one of the most innovative pieces of modern sculpture at any English Cathedral.

The cathedral still forms an important part of the community. It is open to visitors and has a gift shop and café as well as hosting numerous concerts.

External links

* [ Blackburn Cathedral Website]
* [ Blackburn Cathedral Boys Choir Website]
* [ Blackburn Cathedral Virtual Tour Image]

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