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:
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.
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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