Friends of Nottingham Cathedral

The Friends’ mission is simply to find new, creative and compelling ways to preserve and share the gift of our Mother Church.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

The Cathedral Church of St Barnabas, or Nottingham Cathedral, is not just a busy parish church in the heart of Nottingham City Centre but it is also the mother church for much of the Catholic Community here in the East Midlands.

In 2019 the Cathedral celebrated its 175th anniversary and around this time Bishop Patrick asked the Cathedral Chapter to look at establishing a group of ‘Friends.’ The idea being this group would support the Cathedral Church in its mission within the city and diocese, through prayer, financial support and encouraging social and cultural opportunities. The project took on more importance as plans began to develop more formally to restore original Pugin design work the Cathedral and to look at the redevelopment of the whole Cathedral site as a ‘hub for mission’ in the heart of the City, and at the service of the Diocese.

So, in December 2021 ‘The Friends of Nottingham Cathedral’ launched with a celebration of the first vespers for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, one of our diocesan patronal feasts. ‘The Friends’ now see its role as being one of sharing the spiritual, cultural, historical and architectural riches of the Cathedral to the Catholic Community and further afield. Amidst the regeneration Work it seeks to help raise the profile of the Cathedral but also support initiatives to protect, restore and promote its precious patrimony.

Since December, activity has centred on providing considerable support for the incredible and prestigious ‘Happy and Glorious’ concert to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June. Given the considerable costs involved in staging this event with an orchestra, multiple ‘guest’ and home-based choirs, ‘The Friends’ were pleased to be able to underwrite the event financial, through their own funds and securing local sponsorship. They were also delighted to support many practical elements of the evening from stewarding, to writing programme notes and serving refreshments. With overwhelmingly positive feedback and participation from both ‘regulars’ and those who had never set foot in the cathedral before, it was clear that this event had ‘put the Cathedral on the map’, deepened relationships with local civic actors and provided a focal point of celebration and unity for the City and County. As an added bonus, we also raised over £1000 in donations to Emmanuel House during the interval, as well as strong ticket sales for the event itself!

At the end of June, ‘The Friends’ hosted its inaugural Summer lecture with Sophie Andreae, CBE, DSG, FSA, IHBC Speaking on ‘Hidden Treasure: The Beauty of Our Catholic Churches’. It was a lively and detailed education on our Catholic Architecture post-reformation in England and Wales, with a specific focus on local Churches of note such as the Cathedral, Woodthorpe, Hassop and St Mary’s Derby. The occasion also provided an opportunity to enjoy a leisurely glass of wine with friends.

‘The Friends’ have committed to project managing the acquisition, development and launch of a new Cathedral website. We hope this will launch at the end of the year and provide a new and engaging ‘touch point’ for all have an interest in the life, mission and history of our cathedral church. ‘The Friends’ have also commissioned a set of high-quality photos and video content to support the new website, but also wider promotional and grant activity around the Cathedral.

In the months ahead, ‘The Friends’ have a series of tours, talks and an exhibition of Pugin vestments planned to coincide with the National Heritage Open Days in September The historical information being gathered for these Heritage Days will contribute to the development of a hub of knowledge and expertise on the Cathedral Church. In December we will celebrate the First Vespers of The Immaculate Conception, patroness of our diocese. An inaugural ‘Winter Lecture’ is planned hoping to take a deep dive into the design, architecture and history of the Cathedral. And there are ambitious plans in the pipeline to engage with the City’s ‘Light Night’ seeking to highlight, or should we say, to illuminate the Cathedral’s presence in the city.

It is an exciting enterprise at the Cathedral and ‘The Friends’ hope that their work will be of service and a source of pride for the Catholic community here in the East Midlands. It is hoped that these plans and activities will also showcase the beauty, richness, life and mission of our Mother Church and our Catholic faith with our City, county and region. This spiritual and architectural gem, nestled on the busy Derby Road for over 175 years, is a gift for all people in the region. ‘The Friends’ mission is simply to find new, creative and compelling ways to preserve and share that gift.

If you would like to find out how to become a ‘Friend of Nottingham Cathedral’ or to be kept informed of ‘Friends’ events, please fill in this form:

‘The Friends’ are also looking for people with specific expertise and interest in communications, fundraising, community engagement, heritage conservation or architecture to join their management committee. To express interest in volunteering in this way, please send a short letter of interest with a brief note of your experiences/qualifications to Mrs Anne Verdon, Secretary of ‘The Friends:

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