St Philip's Cathedral, the entrance side

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St Philip's Cathedral, the entrance side ( 480x640 )
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St. Philip's Cathedral is the principal church in Birmingham, the seat of Birmingham bishop. Its full name is The Cathedral Church of Saint Philip and it belongs to a Church of England. This Grade I listed building is the third smallest cathedral in England.

The church of St. Phillip was built between 1710 and 1725 in Baroque style. Although, the tower was completed just in 1725, the church was consecrated already in 1915. Its architect was Thomas Archer. From 1715 to 1905 it served as a regular parish church, in 1905 it was turned into a cathedral. The saint patron of the church became Apostle Philip as a tribute to the church benefactor Robert Philips. The church contained a theological library which was bequeathed to the church by the Revd William Higgs.

The cathedral was bombed and gutted during the Second World War. However, all the most significant treasures had been removed by the Birmingham City Council and returned back in the restoration in 1948. Edward. Burne – Jones windows are mainly valuable.

The church hall has rectangular shape with the aisles separated from the nave by fluted pillars of classical form with Tuscan capitals supporting an arcade surmounted by a heavily projecting cornice. Between the pillars there are wooden galleries stretched. From outside there are tall windows between pilasters of low relief, supporting a balustrade at roof level. The cathedral has a single tower at the western end. It rises in stages and is surmounted by a lead-covered dome and delicate lantern. The building is of brick and is faced with stone.

To others things that should be mentioned belong for example a traditional cathedral choir of 20 boys and adult lay clerks who sing at the principal services. Since 1992, there has been also a choir of girls who sing at several services a week. The organ in the cathedral still dates back to 1715 and it was originally built by Schwarbrick. It has been moved from its original place and renovated several times.

In 1725, when the tower was completed, there were eight bells hung in it. It rose to ten shortly afterwards. The bells were used in the 18th and 19th centuries, however, in the 20th century they became unringable several times. In 1937 they were restored and in 1949 another two were added.

St Philip's is surrounded by a churchyard 4 acres large. It contains graves but is no longer open for new burials. Six of the monuments have heritage listings, including one commemorating two men who died during the construction of Birmingham Town Hall and a memorial to the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings.

There is a shop at the north western end of the cathedral. It offers a tea or coffee with a biscuit as well as a range of religious books, prayer cards and other supportive material, CDs produced by the Cathedral Choir, information on the Architecture and the famous Burne-Jones windows.
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