You are here: Home / Our buildings / The New Cathedral

The New Cathedral

Transformation and hope as architecture

Regarded by some as a supreme example of 'Brutalist Architecture', Sir Basil Spence’s 1962 masterpiece embodies both the stark and the beautiful, to powerful effect.

The interior is notable for its huge tapestry (once thought to be the world's largest) of Christ, designed by Graham Sutherland, the emotive sculpture of the Mater Dolorosa by John Bridgeman in the East end, and the Baptistry window designed by John Piper (made by Patrick Reyntiens), of abstract design that occupies the full height of the bowed baptistery, which comprises 195 panes, ranging from white to deep colours. The stained glass windows in the Nave, by Lawrence Lee, Keith New and Geoffrey Clarke, face away from the congregation. Spence's concept for these Nave windows was that the opposite pairs would represent a pattern of growth from birth to old age, culminating in heavenly glory nearest the altar — one side representing the Human, the other side, the the Divine.

“"A pattern of growth from birth to old age"”
— Basil Spence's concept for the stained glass windows, all of which face the altar, not the congregation.

Also worthy of note is the Great West Window known as the Screen of Saints and Angels, engraved directly onto the screen in expressionist style by John Hutton. A pane of the Hutton window, depicting The Angel with the Eternal Gospel, was smashed during a burglary in January 2020. (Although referred to as the West Window, this is the 'liturgical west' opposite the altar which is traditionally at the east end. In this cathedral the altar is actually at the north end.) The foundation stone, the ten stone panels inset into the walls of the cathedral called the Tablets of the Word, and the baptismal font were designed and carved by the émigré German letter carver Ralph Beyer. The lectern has a bookrest in the form of an eagle, by the sculptor Elisabeth Frink.She also designed the canopy for the Bishop's throne.

New Cathedral gallery
New Cathedral, exterior The ‘new’ Cathedral was itself an inspiration to many fine artists of the post-war era. The architect, Sir Basil Spence, commissioned work from Graham Sutherland, John Piper, Ralph Beyer, John Hutton, Jacob Epstein, Elisabeth Frink and others.
Nave; dancing The New Cathedral hosts many occasions from worship to family friendly events.
Nave; theatre The New Cathedral hosts many occasions from worship to music and theatre.
Nave; dining The New Cathedral hosts many occasions from worship to dining clubs.
Nave; musical performance The New Cathedral hosts many occasions from worship to live music and festivals.
New Cathedral, exterior (to steps) The New Cathedral was consecrated on 25th May 1962 in the presence of the Queen, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and congregation.

Directions and accessibility
Wheelchair accessible

There is level access to the New Cathedral via St. Michael's Avenue, parts of which are cobbled.

Doors

There is access into the New Cathedral via double doors which are locked open, except during inclement weather conditions when they are manned by a member of staff. There is wheelchair access to the New Cathedral from the Ruins via a wide path from the Tower entrance which leads onto St. Michael's Avenue.

Guide dogs

Assistance dogs are welcome.


Explore our buildings

Chapel of Unity

The principle of a Chapel of Unity binding the Church of England and the Free Churches together for Christian service in Coventry was born out of the sufferings of war and the ecumenical enthusiasm of the church leaders.

Read more

Chapel of Christ in Gethsemane

This quiet, small chapel serves as a reminder of suffering and a place of prayer and contemplation, away from the focal point of the Cathedral.

Read more

Chapel of Christ the Servant

Also known as the Chapel of Industry, because the surrounding buildings used all to be industrial

Read more

The Ruins

The Ruins are the remains of a medieval parish church. Hit directly by several incendiary bombs, the Cathedral burned with the city on the 14th November 1940.

Read more

Cathedral Organ

We have a whole page dedicated to our amazing organ including its history and how and when to hear it played.

Read more

Tower Climb and Shop

Soaring over 100 metres high, this Gothic masterpiece survived the bombing and is now the third-tallest in England.

Read more

Baptistery Window

The masterpiece created by John Piper is made of 198 brightly coloured glass panels and measures 26 metres high.

Read more

Tapestry of Christ in Glory

Designed by Graham Sutherland, this impressive tapestry was woven by hand on a 500 year old loom and was at one point the largest continuously woven tapestry in the world.

Read more

West Screen

The impressive large glass ‘west’ screen was designed and hand engraved by John Hutton over the course of 10 years, and features 66 figures depicting saints and angels.

Read more

The Nave

As well as housing the stunning Baptistery window, the Nave features five pairs of 25 metre high windows which reflect man's journey through life.

Read more
Follow us on social media
Subscribe to our newsletter to hear about upcoming events