Worcester Cathedral - Memorial Chapel of St. George

Armistice Sunday, 8th November 1936, for the City and County had a special significance. With the passage of the years the services which mark the Armistice must inevitably lose something of the poignancy which attached to earlier celebrations, but this year there were elements which stirred deeply the emotions of many. On this occasion there was the dedication of the War Memorial Chapel which has been formed in the Cathedral.

St George Chapel

Click here to read a copy of the Order of Service

With it was associated a good deal of ceremonial—ecclesiastical, military and civic, and the service was attended by a large number of people representative of every phase of the public life of the City and County, and by a great company of ex-Servicemen, chiefly members of the British Legion.

The ceremonial and service stirred in the hearts and minds of many memories of older campaigns and earlier dedications. South African veterans were reminded of remote ties of friendship still existing, and of departures and homecomings during that campaign. Many had memories of both the earlier war and the Great War, and of visits to the Cathedral to mark some ceremony or service in connection with one or the other. The time-dimmed impressions of these occasions were now revived and invested the service with a special solemnity.

The event had its spectacular side. The gathering of Military and ex-Servicemen in Birdport, with the standards of the branches unfurled in the sunlight of an oddly bright November morning, and the pageantry and colour of the civic procession, formed an attraction for many, thousands of citizens who gathered in the streets and in the precincts of the Cathedral.

The weather was beautifully fine until the service was over and the congregation had departed and the Military had passed with dignified salute the two war memorials, and then rain began to fall.

The idea of assembling all the war memorials into one part of the Cathedral originated with the Dean and Chapter.

The Dean (Dr. Davies), inspired a number of alterations and changes within the Cathedral, which have enhanced its beauty, and have given to parts of it a special significance. The suggestion of a Chapel devoted to Military Memorials and Symbols was heartily approved by the Regimental authorities, by the Territorial Association and by everybody concerned in the removal of tablets or monuments.

The proposals with regard to establishing the War Memorial Chapel for the County and the County Regiments had been the subject of many discussions over the years between the Dean and Chapter and Committee of the Worcestershire County War Memorial, and eventually the scheme to establish the Chapel as it now stands was evolved, and submitted to and approved by the subscribers to the War Memorial Fund, which was inaugurated soon after the First World War 1914-18 by the late Lord Coventry as Lord Lieutenant.

This fund bore the whole cost of erecting the Cenotaph outside and the Memorial Window and Books of Remembrance inside the Cathedral, and in addition established a Fund which has been used during the years after the Great War to help those who served in it, their widows and dependants, when in need of assistance.

This Chapel, the cost of which is being borne by this same fund, was in fact the final episode in the work for which the War Memorial Fund has made itself responsible.

It is claimed that the transformation of the north choir transept into a chapel restores this part of the Cathedral to its original purpose.

Within the Chapel the arrangement of the memorials is in accord with the general scheme. Much of the work had to be done with great care. The memorial window for the Great War, for instance, had to be transferred from the North aisle of the nave. The completed work is a very beautiful and impressive sanctuary, bearing on its walls, tablets and inscriptions of memorable events in County Military History, which, together with the Colours of various Battalions which have been placed in the Cathedral for safe keeping.

St. George Chapel 1939

St. George's Memorial Chapel (1936)