This film is part of Free

Your New Cathedral

There might be a war on but funds are still needed to complete Guildford's People's Cathedral - that's the message from the Provost in this fund-raising film from 1939

Announcement 1939 5 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


At a time of national crisis comes this appeal for funds to build Guildford’s new cathedral. It shows the Provost, Eric Southam, asking local cinema audiences for donations. After a sequence of shots showing Guildford, both old and new, the laying of the Foundation Stone and Queen Mary starting a pile-driver, we see bricks being made by hand for use in the construction. The Provost says he will personally collect contributions and each donor’s name will go into a Golden Book.

Despite Provost Eric Southam's appeal in 1939, construction work on Guildford Cathedral was halted due to wartime restrictions on building and material shortages. Once these restrictions were lifted at the end of the war fresh impetus was given to fund-raising projects. An innovative scheme launched in 1952, by Eleanor Iredale, was the 'Buy-a-Brick' campaign. A single brick could be 'bought' for 2 shillings and sixpence [12.5p] and the name of the purchaser would be inscribed on the brick. Bricks were 'sold' not only to locals but to people and groups from all over the country - including the Royal Family. Thanks to the generosity of donors the Cathedral was finally completed and consecrated in May 1961.