St Chad’s is one of Birmingham’s architectural and artistic gems and possesses a large collection of medieval furnishings and carvings collected by Pugin. He was the pioneer of the Gothic revival in England and, until his early death in 1852 aged 40, designed many cathedrals, churches and convents with their furnishings and contents in England, Ireland and Australia. Pugin was also responsible for much of the interiors of the Houses of Parliament in London. Three of Pugin’s sons, Edward, Cuthbert and Peter Paul, also worked in the Cathedral. His grandson, Sebastian Pugin Powell, designed St Edward’s Chapel which was consecrated in 1933.
St Chad’s is highlighted as one of Birmingham’s most significant buildings in the recent Pevsner Architectural Guide to Birmingham by Andy Foster. It also features in ‘A Glimpse of Heaven’, a survey of the best 100 Catholic Churches in England and Wales published by English Heritage, in conjunction with the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, in 2006.
The Cathedral is especially proud of its unique collection of stained glass, metalwork and vestments made to Pugin’s designs by John Hardman and Co. Hardmans is a world famous Catholic family firm founded by John Hardman, a close friend of Pugin, in 1845. For over one hundred years it was based in Newhall Hill in the Jewellery Quarter. Four generations of the Hardman family were faithful and generous parishioners of the Cathedral, and some are buried in the family chantry chapel in the crypt.
Since 1972 the firm has been based in Lightwoods House, Hagley Road, Bearwood and continues to produce glass and metalwork to the original designs.
For further information visit the Pugin Society website at www.pugin-society.org.