Places of worship in cathedral exhibition

Derby Cathedral’s July and August exhibition will be Holy Ground, a loan exhibition from Derby Museums which will be held in the Sir Richard Morris lounge until August 31 (Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm, closed on Bank Holiday Monday).

Holy Ground features ten specially selected pictures (from a collection of over 500) of Derby churches and chapels, collected over a lifetime by Alfred E Goodey (1878-1945) and given to Derby Museum in the last century. The idea was a suggestion from Lucy Bamford, Keeper of Art at Derby Museums.

As a president of the Derby Sketching Club, Goodey commissioned artists to depict old parts of the town threatened with demolition. The results are a record of the city’s past and include several churches and chapels which have since disappeared.

The ten pictures include old St Alkmund’s church before its rebuilding in 1844, St John’s Bridge Street in 1838 and also a watercolour of the Bridge Chapel painted before its restoration as a place of worship.

Pugin’s St Mary’s plus All Saints, St Peter’s and St Michael’s can be seen along with two non-conformist chapels, the 17th century Unitarian chapel in Friargate and the 18th century mansion in St Mary’s Gate, taken over by the Baptists in the mid 19th century.

Derby Cathedral’s Exhibition Officer, Geoff Robson, said: “The fact that the pictures are all from the mid 19th century enables an informative background to be provided by the returns made on each place of worship in the 1851 Census of Religious Worship.”

“This was the first and, so far, the only national census ever taken of the number of worshippers on a particular Sunday in all Christian churches and chapels. Ministers or other responsible persons were sent forms on which to record the numbers present at all services held on Sunday 30 March [1851], which happened to be mid-Lent or Mothering Sunday at many churches.”

He added: “They were asked to state the seating capacity and other statistics of their building and to record the number of Sunday school scholars separately. The results give a fascinating picture of mid-Victorian church going and the Derby data will be given alongside the churches and chapels in the exhibition.”