Wednesday, 7 November 2007

The New Convent

The Cathedral Clergy House has been served for nearly thirty years by the Portuguese Sisters of Our Lady of Victories. They and their predecessors inhabited the dark corridors on thre ground floor of Clergy House, where little sunlight reached them, and the were subject to street noise. In the 19670s, a bequest was received from the McHugh family, which enabled a new convent to be built on the flat roof of Archbishop's House, overlooking Ambrosden Avenue.

Work commenced in early 1967. The Cathedral Chronicle commented: "Many people have watched the progress of the new building on the roof of Archbishop's House, and wondered for what purpose it was to be used. it has been most ingeniouisly designed by the Cathedral architect, Lawrence Shattock, and by Christmas will be ready for occupation; so the new year, we trust, will begin with a brighter aspect for our Sisters from the sunny south. They will have a little roof garden which we hope will be a source of pleasure to them, and a splendid view of the ever-changing skyline with its outcrop of skyscrapers. "

"May they reap great benefit from their new surroundings, especially during times of recreation, and may their sleep at night be sound and undisturbed."

A word on terminology: the convent stands above Archbishop's House, but owing to the labyrinthine geography of the building, it and the floor below (with its terrace) belong to Clergy House!

1 comment:

Andrew Teather said...

What an extraordinary building! Like finding a fish and chip shop on top of Ham House.