Monday, 31 December 2007

The Cathedral Cribs

An old picture from 1928 of the new Crib placed in St Paul's chapel. The Cathedral Chronicle of that year gives some background:

"For the past two years there has been a change in the arrangements for the crib at the Cathedral. Formerly, the crib was always in the transept outside the Lady Chapel. When the new confessionals were built into the wall of that transept, there was no longer any place to put the crib. Following the custom of one of the Roman churches, His Eminence (Cardinal Bourne) decided to place the crib behind and above St Paul's altar, and for the past two years there it has been. It has now been decided to make that a permanent arrangement for the Cathedral. This year, new figures have been made by Mr Lindsay Clarke ..

.. The crib is a work of the highest artisitic merit, and is the result of the collaboration of three artists. The shrine in which the group was placed was designed by Mr L. H. Shattock A.R.I.B.A., the architect of the Cathedral. The group itself is the work of Mr Philip Lindsay Clarke D.S.O., A.R.B.S., and the colouring was done by Mr A.C. M. Chalmers."

While that great crib still makes a yearly appearance, it is now placed on the main sanctuary, where it makes a magnificent and prayerful backdrop to the Christmas liturgies. However, we keep alive the custom of a crib in a side chapel - perhaps more appropriately, the location is now St Joseph's chapel.

As a mark of changing times, this year we showed directions to the chapel with the following sign at the back of the Cathedral - which was much appreciated:

عيد الميلاد سرير


Anonymous said...

Dear Monsignor,
Firsty, thank you for this great blog which I enjoy. Secondly, Happy New Year!. Thirdly, may I say that I think putting the Crib in the high altar is not really appropriate - and also the faithful would probably enjoy being able to see it closer-to as obviously used to be the case. Fourthly, having said that, keep up the wonderful ministry that you and your colleagues exercise. It must be very exacting and wearing at times, but many thousands of us appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

The crib in the side chapel was designed and built by students from St. Charles' Sixth Form College in 1996 and was first used at the Cardinal's Carol Service for school children in December of that year.