Guildford Cathedral, Stag Hill, Surrey.
Originally designed by Sir Edward Maufe, building work on the Cathedral began in 1936, however work was halted during the Second World War due to restrictions on building and the lack of material availability.
Construction of the Cathedral began once more in 1954, through support of the local community. A campaign was launched encouraging ordinary members of the public to ‘Buy a Brick’. 200,000 people came forward in a concerted effort to help complete the works and by 1961 the Cathedral was consecrated. The generosity of the public spread to the interiors too, where 1500 kneelers were made by hand and still remain in the Cathedral today
The Dorsal Curtain is woven in cotton, silk and linen brocatelle in cream and gold. This 1997 restoration replaced the first Dorsal Curtain, which was donated by the Royal Air Force. You can find a document of the original fabric in the Warner Textile Archive.
The RAF had an affinity with the Cathedral. During the second world war it was one of the first recognisable landmarks on their safe return to Britain. This was despite efforts to disguise the Cathedral from the enemy with corrugated steel and camouflage paint. After the war, the RAF gifted funds to restore the Dorsal Curtain.
The Dorsal Curtain was designed by Richard Humphries and the subject of the cloth was inspired by the existing decoration of the Cathedral. The seven tongues of fire can be found in the alter cloth, the clouds are taken from the alter carpet and the descending dove is a figure of the Old Testament.
Project reference: 1543