St Chad's Cathedral
0121 236 2251
0121 230 6279
St Chad’s, the first Catholic cathedral erected in England since the Reformation, was built between 1839 and 1841 to serve the rapidly expanding Catholic population in Birmingham.
It was designed in north German 13th century style by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-1852), the world famous pioneer of Gothic revival architecture. The Cathedral is built of brick with Bath stone dressings. The south-west spire was added by Pugin’s eldest son, Edward Welby, in 1856 in memory of Canon John Moore (Administrator 1841-1848). St Edward’s Chapel was added in 1933 by Sebastian Pugin Powell, Pugin’s grandson.
In November 1940 a bomb came through the Cathedral roof, bounced on the floor and exploded when it hit the central heating pipes. The pipes burst and the water extinguished the bomb, thus saving the Cathedral from destruction.
In 1941, St Chad’s was made a minor basilica by Pope Pius XII on the occasion of its centenary. A minor basilica is a church which enjoys a special association with the Pope and is entitled to have the papal coat-of-arms above the front door. The privileges of a basilica include the use of the symbols that are placed in the Cathedral on great occasions.