Norwich church celebrates 75th anniversary

A grand ceremony has been held to mark the 75th anniversary of one of the most historic churches in Norwich.

St Catherine's Church in Mile Cross, held its first service on November 12, 1936, and marked this anniversary with some special guests to sing evensong.

The choir of Fitzwilliam College from Cambridge University was on hand for the special ceremony at the Grade II listed building, straddled by Aylsham Road and Mile Cross Road.

The church's big claim to fame was that its foundation stone was laid by a very special guest, Queen Mary.

On Thursday, February 2, 1935, Her Majesty, the grandmother of our current Queen and the wife of King George V, attended the church for a special ceremony.

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The ceremony saw the church's architect Alban Caroe hand the Queen a silver trowel with an ivory handle, which had the design of a catherine wheel on the blade and also the words, 'Her Majesty Queen Mary used me 2nd February, 1935.'

It began the project to replace the small red-brick church that had stood on the site since 1902, which could seat about 150 people.

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As Mile Cross expanded in the 1920s, there was soon a need for a bigger building and the much grander St Catherine's Church was constructed.

On Saturday, the Lord Mayor of Norwich Jenny Lay was among the special guests to join Rev Paul Mackay and a crowd of about 170 people to mark 75 years since the first service.

St Catherine's parochial church council chairman Joyce Lincoln was among the congregation and said: 'It went extremely well. The evensong from Fitzwilliam College was absolutely excellent.

'People talked about their time at the church or memories of the church.

'There were several people who came who were in the choir or the covenant, a youth organisation there used to be at the church. There were even one or two who remembered Queen Mary laying the foundation stone in 1935, as there were a few elderly people who made the special effort to attend.

'It was very uplifting and enjoyable.'

For more about the history of St Catherine's, go to

Are you approaching a landmark anniversary? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or

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