Guildford Cathedral has been named the city’s favourite building, in an award that included the votes of local people.
The Guildford Design Awards 2023 which are organised by the Guildford Society in partnership with Guildford Borough Council, recognise excellence in architecture, urban design, planning and public art. It’s the first time the category, which was voted for by the public, has been included.
Building work on the cathedral began in 1936, but was halted because of the outbreak of the Second World War. When construction began again in 1954, funds and materials were limited and so a campaign was launched which saw more than 200,000 ordinary people buy and donate bricks. Their generosity was seen as a demonstration of modern community spirit. The inside of the cathedral was also furnished largely by local people. 1500 hand-made kneelers from that time remain in place inside the cathedral today.
The cathedral’s Chief Operating Officer Matt O’Grady collected the award and commented: “We are delighted to win this award. It seems fitting that over 200,000 members of the public helped us build the Cathedral with our ‘buy a brick’ campaign and helped us fund the restoration project in 2016/2017.
“So, we feel honoured to have won the public’s first vote and would like to thank everyone who voted for us. Our mission is ‘Open to all’ and we welcome everyone to come and visit this marvellous building and see all that we have to offer.”
The Cathedral says it hopes to welcome many people through its doors, particularly during Advent and the journey through to Christmas – or at any time throughout the year.