The Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King

It is built on the site of the city’s workhouse and fever infirmary, home to the sick and destitute from 1771 to 1928. In 1930 the land was bought by the Church and apparently over a cocktail with the Bishop the eminent architect Edward Lutyens (known for his war memorials, palatial country houses and the Viceroy’s palace in New Delhi) was chosen to build a cathedral. His plans were of epic proportions – larger than St. Peter’s – but when war erupted in 1939, he had only completed the crypt. The post-war economy meant that costs spiralled to an impossible £27 million, stopping all work. In the event, Sir Frederick Gibberd (London’s Central Mosque and Didcot Power Station) won an open competition and built on the land adjacent to the Lutyens crypt. Both the Cathedral and Lutyens crypt were consecrated in 1967. Today it is affectionately known as Paddy’s Wigwam and the four bells nicknamed John, Paul, George and Ringo.