Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Norwich
Work started on this wonderful Norwich cathedral in 1882, and it was officially opened less than 30 years later.
The amazing gothic design, by George Gilbert Scott Junior and his brother John Oldrid Scott, leads many to assume that the building is significantly older.
Unlike many ancient cathedrals almost all of the glass was made and designed over this 30-year period by one organisation, John Hardman & Co. of Birmingham. Members of this family firm included John Hardman senior, (1767-1844), John Hardman junior, (1812 – 1867) and his nephew, John Hardman Powell (1827 – 94). Established in the 19th century, the firm originally specialised in the production of church metalwork made to designs by the renowned Victorian architect A.W.N. Pugin. Later they branched into the design and manufacture of glass and other church furnishings. Their stained glass recreated the elegance and refinement seen in finest examples of work from the 13th and 14th centuries. The quality of Hardmans’ church windows, particularly in the 1850s and 1860s, was superb. The most famous building they supplied glass for was the new Houses of Parliament in London, where of course Pugin was the interior designer. An example of their work can also be seen in the south aisle (window 8) of the Anglican Cathedral.
Although some of the windows were destroyed during WWII, most notably the north window and those in the Walsingham Chapel, their replacements were remade in the same style and in the case of the north window with little alteration. Additional post-war refurbishment (by G. King and Sons of Norwich) which included some interchange between aisle and clerestory windows to lighten the interior, was also undertaken sympathetically to the original plans.
The uniformity in the design of the glass makes a huge impact on the building, which is probably best summed up by the architectural historian Niklaus Pevsner: ‘The thing which gives the interior its peculiar holiness is the stained glass…Its colours are dark and glowing, its composition designed on the principle of 13th century windows… (They are) supremely well done.’
For further information and to view the details of each window pass your cursor over the circled numbers to see a thumbnail pop-up of the window. Click the circled number for an informative panel to appear
. To learn more about Norwich Medieval churches visit: www.norwich-churches.org