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St. Anne's Cathedral

The first St. Anne's Catholic Cathedral was built to replace St. Mary's Chapel in Lady Lane. In August 1836 Park Terrace was purchased as a site for a new church. The site was at the junction of Cookridge Street and Guildford Street, the name given to the upper part of the Headrow at that time. The Architect John Child was engaged to design the church, and the foundation stone was laid on 12th August 1837. St. Mary's Chapel was sold to help finance the new building.

It was intended that the church, like the old chapel would be dedicated to St. Mary. However in 1838 it was decided to dedicate it to St. Anne, in gratitude to Sarah and Grace Humble the two principal benefactors. St. Anne was the patroness of their late sister Anne Humble. The church was built of Horsforth stone in the Gothic Style, and was the first Roman Catholic church in the West riding to be built with a spire since the Reformation. There was seating for 800 people.

Sarah Humble died in 1841, and her sister Grace commissioned the architect A W N Pugin to design new interior furnishings for the church in memory of both her late sisters.  In 1842 a new reredos, altar and pulpit were built and on 22nd June 1842 the church was re-opened. The reredos was later moved to the new St. Anne's cathedral.

In 1875-76 the church was re-decorated and a new organ chamber built  by the architects Adams and Kelly. In 1878, when the Leeds Diocese was formed, St.Anne's became the Cathedral Church of St. Anne, the Mother Church for the diocese, which included the whole of the West Riding. This meant further changes to the interior of the church; new canons' stalls were built and a cathedra, a Bishop's throne, was added. New Chorister's benches and choir screens were built in  the sanctuary. On 28th October 1879 Bishop Robert Cornthwaite was installed in the episcopal throne as the first Bishop of Leeds. In 1894 further improvements were made to the interior to the design of J F Bentley, the architect of Westminster Cathedral.

On 1st December 1899 Leeds City Council formally announced that it was to put a compulsory purchase order on St. Anne's and the adjoining presbytery and St. Anne's schools. The buildings were to be demolished to allow the re-alignment of the surrounding roads. When St. Anne's was built it stood on the edge of the town. Cookridge Street ran parallel to it, and in the 1840's houses were built on the side of Cookridge Street opposite to the church.  In the 1850's Cookridge Street was developed further and by the 1890s there were shops, offices, warehouses, a theatre, and swimming baths there. St. Anne's blocked the junction of Cookridge Street with Guildford Street, and made access difficult; trams travelling along Park Row had to negotiate a difficult bend to gain access to Cookridge Street.

Leeds City Council offered land for a new cathedral at the junction of Great George Street and Cookridge Street, and the foundation stone was laid on 26th July 1902. The architects were John Henry Eastwood, and Sydney Kyffin Greenslade. The council would not pay full compensation for the old cathedral buildings until the church was vacated, and it was decided to move to the new building before it was completed. Mass was said for the last time in the old Cathedral on 24th April 1904, and the first service held in the still incomplete new Cathedral on 1st May.

Click images to enlarge
St. Anne's Cathedral, engraving, 1898
St. Anne's Cathedral, engraving, 1898
St. Anne's Cathedral, 1904
St. Anne's Cathedral, 1904
St. Anne's Cathedral and Presbytery, 1904
St. Anne's Cathedral and Presbytery, 1904
St. Anne's Cathedral, during demolition
St. Anne's Cathedral, during demolition
St. Anne's Cathedral, 1999
St. Anne's Cathedral, 1999




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© 2003 Leeds City Council | Site created by: LCC electronic information team | 25 March 2003