I have been watching the progress of the works around the side entrance and garden next to Salford Cathedral for some time. We walk by the Cathedral regularly on our way into Manchester and on a recent walk I noticed the workers had finished. The new piazza, that is now the entrance to the Cathedral, is completed and was officially opened on 6 July 2019. This provides an entrance that is away from the pavement and busy Chapel Street and will be a lovely space for the congregation to gather after services.
Beyond the piazza is the Cathedral garden with the Onion Shelter at its centre. Made from ten steam-bent oak wood planks, this open structure has a circle of seating.
Opened in 1848, Salford Cathedral on Chapel Street is dedicated to St John the Evangelist and is positioned north-south. In 1854 the Great East Window was installed, a traditional and stunning stained glass window. The stained glass was removed during the Second World War to protect it from bomb damage. Along the base of the window are images that tell the story of the Catholic faith in England.
What was originally the Blessed Sacrament chapel became the World War One Memorial Chapel in 1923. The Cathedral has a light and airy interior with a central modern altar in white marble. There are interesting floor mosaics and tiling that give the building a clean finish.
While we were looking around, a young woman approached me and asked if I would take her photograph outside the Cathedral [the three of us were the only visitors]. I did willingly and asked her where she was visiting from. ‘Mexico’, she told me with a smile and exclaimed how beautiful the Cathedral was. We chatted some more and I learnt that she was staying in London, Manchester and Dublin and hoping to learn more English. The new piazza gives an elegance to Salford Cathedral that it lacked before and maybe more tourists will make the trip to see it.