Exploring the rich and fascinating past of the historic counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. We uncover the history of the people, ideas and events that shaped the West Midlands and the world beyond.
HWM Shop

Birmingham Cathedral celebrates 300 years of the citys past and present

UntitledSt Philip’s to lead the second of three evenings of music and drama highlighting the heritage of three centuries of Birmingham on Saturday June 20th.

‘Festival of Voices – Birmingham in the 19th Century’ will showcase the richness and heritage of the city’s past and present. Sponsored by Lloyds Bank, the evening will bring the story of ‘from church to cathedral’ and ‘from town to a city’ to life.

The 19th century concert will be held at the Town Hall at 5pm on Saturday 20th June. The Town Hall was built in 1834 to house the concerts which had outgrown St Philip’s. A century where the church became a cathedral and the town became a city …

  • 1815 – 1915 will be remembered with drama performances covering Quakers in the city and the first Cadbury shop, the Burne-Jones windows in St Philip’s and the suffragette movement slashing and paintings in Birmingham Art Gallery and painting the pews at in St Philip’s
  • Music will walk the audience through the building of the Town Hall and the death of two of its workers, St Philip’s becoming a cathedral in 1905 and WW1
  • A time-travelling opera ‘Tim Travall and his wondrous watch’ written and performed by a selection of children from St Clement’s Primary School in Nechells, St George’s Primary School in Edgbaston, St John’s Primary School in Sparkhill, Lapworth Primary School and Christ Church Primary School in Sparkbrook
  • Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co Chorus will be performing Haec Dies (Byrd), Il bianco e dolce cigno (Arcadelt), Lift thine eyes (Mendelssohn) and When I was a lad (HMS Pinafore)
  • The concert will close with the audience and choirs singing Jerusalem
  • The Cathedral Choir will perform:
    • Music from Mendelssohn’s ‘Elijah’
    • ‘In Paradisum’ from “Requiem” by Gabriel Fauré (1845 – 1924) Great is the Lord: Elgar
    • Charles H H Parry There is an old belief
    • Vaughan Williams Lord thou hast been our refuge
    • Elgar’s Organ Sonata (first movement)

Untitled1The evening will be compered by Birmingham historian Dr Chris Upton and feature the Cathedral Choir, local school musicians and other choirs interspersed with performances and readings. The first concert was held at St Martin in the Bull Ring back in February and was hailed a ‘magical evening’ from those who attended.

The 20th century will be celebrated with a unique performance at the cathedral at 5pm on Saturday 27th February next year. 1915 – 2015 will cover the bomb damage to St Philip’s during WW2, the diversity of the city, the cathedral’s organ being rebuilt and the 1974 Birmingham Pub Bombings.

Tickets and further information can be found on the cathedral’s website birminghamcathedral.com. Tickets are also available on thsh.co.uk for 19th century at the Town Hall and eventbrite.co.uk for the 20th century concert.

Revd Canon Janet Chapman from Birmingham Cathedral said: “We are so excited for all three events. They will bring the city’s diverse culture and history together. It will be such a great opportunity for people to learn more about the story of Birmingham through these wonderful performances.”

Canon Marcus Huxley, Director of Music at Birmingham Cathedral added: “It is a great thrill to find ourselves at this fulcrum point in the history of the cathedral and we are enormously looking forward to celebrating the last 300 years and laying foundations for the next 300.”

A spokesperson for Lloyds Bank said: “We have supported local people, local businesses, and local communities for centuries. This support continues to receive our unwavering focus, as illustrated through our Helping Britain Prosper Plan. We are delighted to support the Birmingham Cathedral during their tercentenary year.”

In the History West Midlands Shop

History West Midlands films

Celebrating 300 years of faith in Birmingham – The Church which became a CathedralCelebrating 300 years of faith in Birmingham – The Church which became a Cathedral
Celebrating 300 years of faith in Birmingham – The Church which became a Cathedral
300 years at the heart: The Church that became a Cathedral – Audio tour300 years at the heart: The Church that became a Cathedral – Audio tour
300 years at the heart: The Church that became a Cathedral – Audio tour
Birmingham Cathedral 2015 Tercentenary – New film coming soonBirmingham Cathedral 2015 Tercentenary – New film coming soon
Birmingham Cathedral 2015 Tercentenary – New film coming soon

History West Midlands podcasts

Don't miss out on the latest news, events and films - sign up for our FREE newsletter »