VU History


St George's Cathedral is the oldest Cathedral in southern Africa and is the Mother Church of the diocese. The gothic church is a classic cruciform building, with a courtyard garden which includes a Labyrinth. The administrative offices of the Cathedral are housed in cloisters facing the courtyard.

The original St George's Church had been built in the style of St Pancras Church in London, featuring six stone pillars whose places are marked today by oak trees on the Cathedral steps. It opened at Christmas 1834, and was made a cathedral in 1847 in anticipation of the arrival of the first Anglican Bishop in Africa, Robert Gray. However, he didn't like it. Both Bishop Gray and his successor William West Jones wished for a grander cathedral, but neither lived to see it built. The current building was designed by the famous architect Herbert Baker.

The foundation stone was laid in 1901 by the future King George V and can be seen from the bottom of the Avenue leading into the Company's Garden. Construction did not begin until 1906, however, starting at the eastern end, and the completion of the north transept in 1936 finally brought Herbert Baker's design to life. In 1963 the Lady Chapel and south aisle were completed, and in 1978 the Bell Tower and the Link were built. The Cathedral remains a work-in-progress, however, as there was intended to be a Chapter House attached to the end of the Link.

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