onsdag 22 juli 2009

Tea at the Cricket followed by Church in the Car

A play on the blog title to keep Sunday's events in chronological order.

My friend Graham and I drove down to Guildford on Sunday (19th July) to see Surrey CCC take on Middlesex CCC. A match which Middlesex won with 5 overs to spare.

We sat in the sun and occasional showers, drinking tea, eating home made cakes and sarnies and watching a great cricket match.
In our first seats, because we moved around a bit, I noticed a massive square tower on a hill above the cricket ground with a golden statue on the top of what appeared to be a cross. I was told by Graham and the people sitting on my other side that it was Guildford Cathedral. And that the golden statue was an angel.

However, a huge angel on top of a flimsy cross appeared unlikely, not to mention ugly. And the huge square tower looked nothing like any other cathedral I'd seen previously; the only spiritual aspect being the very long, narrow, 3-pane geometrical windows.
Anyway, accepting that it was in fact Guildford Cathedral we decided to drive up the hill to see it after the match.

The building is monstrous, not in size but in the effect on the observer. On first glance it reminded me of the old Bankside power station (now the Tate Modern)
The intial impression is that it looks like it's made out of huge building blocks of varied heights and widths because there isn't a single curve on the entire building, it's all straight lines and angles; apart of course from the mild arches at the tops of the windows.

Inside it is long and high and just white with no ornamentation of any kind on the walls or ceiling. Even behind the altar there is no decoration just white drapes. It has several chapels and two unusual and unattractive dog-leg extensions on either side of the main entrance that look like the arms of a robot aimed at the people approaching!

The huge angel was not, I noticed when much closer, sitting on a cross but was impaled by the pole of a weather vane. The pole disappearing up the gown and between the legs of the angel. Very unattractive, very unusual.

The Cathedral Church of the Holy Spirit, to give it its full name, was consecrated as recently as 1961 by the then Bishop of Guildford George Reindorp in the presence of the Queen.

Edward Maufe's design won the competition in 1930.The foundation stone was laid in 1936 by Dr. Cosmo Gordon Lang, the Archbishop of Canterbury de jour.
In 1939 building work stopped at the outbreak of the war. And due to the clear and obvious priority of housing needs after the war work was not completed until 1961. However in 1947 regular services started in the Crypt Chapel.
In 1968 fund-rasing was finally complete. The whole building cost £900,000.

I don't like it, outside or in. The place is far too cold, clinical and austere. This is 1930s design at its worst in my opinion, odd, red brick, far too large to be a rural cathedral and looking like an overgrown suburban church of the period.

Anyway, here's the link to their website. Judge for yourself.

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