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Along with 1921, 1922 and 1931, 1938 was one of the most significant dates in the Shrine's restoration. The building of the Shrine Church was started in 1937 and it was completed and opened on 6 June 1938 (Whit Monday: the origin of the National date). As in 1931, Fr Patten recorded the work's progress photographically, almost brick by brick. We therefore have a large collection of his pictures, as well as two albums of beautiful photographs of the finished building and surroundings taken by the Revd K A Pearson and donated to the Shrine. Many of the Pearson pictures will be recognised from their frequent use in later years as illustrations in Shrine publications.

Our Lady's Mirror for 1937 and 1938 are already on this website. The four issues of 1937 (first, second, third, fourth) and the first of 1938 describe the progress of the building and preparations for the opening; the second of 1938, the Summer Number, is an extra-large edition describing the day itself. This issue has many photographs and they are reproduced on the press reports page (item 9 below).

Also to appear on the website not long afterwards are the rest of the pages relating to the new Shrine Church, as shown:

1 appeals for funds, all connected with Fr Patten's fulfilled and unfulfilled plans for the new buildings, issued in 1936, 1937 and 1938
2 plans and drawings
3 photographs - Fr Patten - his own photographs and lengthy captions - while others saw only bricks and foundations he held his vision of the completed Shrine church in his mind : Volume 1 (February-July 1937) :: Volume 2 (July-November 1937) ; the second album ends with a few blank pages, as if he stopped taking the pictures, and there is no record that he ever compiled a third to show the final stages of the building. The Pearson volumes (below) contain high quality pictures of the finished church and grounds.
4 photographs - Pearson : Volume 1 :: Volume 2
5 photographs - other
6 press cuttings - before the event
7 order of service for the Blessing of the new church on 6 June
8 photographs of the day's events from other sources
9 press cuttings - reports of the opening, and contemporary photographs
10 press cuttings - other
11 personal accounts - (1) one pilgrim's reminiscences of being present at the Shrine in 1922, 1931 and 1938
12 details of the interior of the finished church and individual chapels
13 the 5th edition of The Little Guide :: Fr Patten's guide to the finished church, with ground plan

A film taken of the external events on the day of the opening (about 20 minutes long), found in the archives, has been professionally restored.

1938 Timeline:
In ENGLAND George VI was on the throne, Neville Chamberlain was Prime Minister (and after his visits to Hitler promised "peace in our time"), Cosmo Lang was Archbishop of Canterbury and Bertram Pollock was Bishop of Norwich. It was the year in which Lord Halifax (son of an early Shrine Guardian, Lord Halifax) became Foreign Secretary, the Queen Elizabeth was launched and the WVS was founded. In NORFOLK the display of the Northern Lights was visible from the county, there were extensive floods throughout the Spring, the Norwich Cathedral organ was destroyed by fire, Air Raid Precautions and emergency measures were practised in every town and village in a Crisis Week in September and the Revd Harold Davidson, the defrocked former rector of Stiffkey, was killed by a lion at Skegness.

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