Nottingham – St Barnabas RC Cathedral

I had an email a few weeks ago from +Libby, the new Bishop of Derby, asking if I could go to the 175th anniversary service of St Barnabas Catholic Cathedral in Nottingham (the delights of being Diocesan Ecumenical Officer). Friday evening 7 June 2019, and the weather was not good – I really don’t want to drive down the A52 and go to a service of Solemn Vespers. Mutter, mutter. I followed the sat nav, found somewhere to park, and was welcomed by name when I entered the Cathedral – and it was worth entering.

The service was lovely. The music was excellent, a choir of young people, many university students I should imagine – have a look at their excellent website One of the clergy had the title of “Bishop’s Chaplain and Diocesan Master of Ceremonies” – I want his job. What took me back was the all-male procession, how life used to be 25 years ago! (Only the Catholics were processing). They had welcomed lots of Ecumenical people and, as the Catholic Diocese covers a large area, lots of VIPs. Best of all, the service was over in 47 minutes – the Dean of Leicester and I agreed that no Anglican Cathedral can do a posh service in less than an hour! Then there was time for an explore, and to enjoy the Flower Festival, and some excellent refreshments. The Cathedral’s website is

The church was built in 1844 and the architect was A.W.N. Pugin. When it was built it was the largest Catholic church in England. They have an HLF grant to do a lot of working telling the story, and there are some good events on over the next few months – see Just enjoy the building, the paintwork and the flowers.

Sat at the front I had a good view up into the roof, and the Barnabas banner and flowers.

Lovely flowers around the Cathedral – spot Rolls Royce and the Nottingham Goose Fair.

Pugin’s work comes to the fore in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, and there is some lovely glass.

And don’t forget the refreshments.

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