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St Paul's Anglican Cathedral

St Paul's Anglican Cathedral

The Anglican Cathedral of St. Paul is a church located in the Independence Square in Valletta, at the bottom of Archbishop Street. The Anglican Cathedral of St. Paul was built by the widow of King William IV between 1839 and 1844. The cathedral stands on the site where the Auberge d’Allemegne used to be; however this was demolished to allow space for this Valletta landmark. As it name states, the cathedral is dedicated to St. Paul. It has a massive steeple rising 65 metres high; a prominent spot in Valletta’s skyline. Built in the neo-classical style, the Cathedral’s facade and exterior are plain, with simple Ionic pillars, contrasting with the sophisticated Corinthian columns in the aisles. The cathedral was commissioned by the Dowager Queen Adelaide during a visit to Malta in the 19th Century when she found out that there was no place of Anglican worship on the island. Prior to this Anglican services were held in a room in the Grand Master’s Palace. Built on the site of the Auberge d'Allemagne (the conventual home of the German Knights Hospitaller), the cathedral was designed by William Scamp and was built between 1839 and 1844. Queen Adelaide laid the foundation stone on 20 March 1839 and her banner hangs above the choir stalls. The original plans were designed by Richard Lankasheer however the building proved unstable thus work had to resume on plans by Scamp in 1841. Scamp's designs located the altar on the west side of the church however the Bishop of Gibraltar had a more conservative view, thus the designs were altered and Scamp designed an apse inside the great doors to hold the sanctuary on the east side. During the war the cathedral was damaged and the roof collapsed however it escaped serious damage. During restoration works the original designs by Scump started to take shape. A quire and rood screen were built on the west side of the cathedral. A pulpit was also incorporated with the screen dedicated to Sir Winston Churchill. The new chancery was dedicated by the Archbishop of Canterbury Geoffrey Fisher on 2 December 1949 in the presence of Princess Elizabeth. The east side of the cathedral was then transformed into a baptistery. The under-croft, constructed from remains of the basement of the Auberge d'Allemagne was never used. In 1928 the Bishop of Gibraltar Nugent Hicks opened the under-croft as the new parish hall. In 1938 it was transformed as a gas proof air raid shelter and in the early days of the conflict was used by the chaplain, his wife and scores of Maltese citizens. In 2005 it was restored and upgraded.

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