5 March 1907, Foundation stone of St Cyprian’s Cathedral laid by Bishop Gaul.
FOUNDATION STONE LAID FOR ST CYPRIAN’S
The laying of the foundation stone of the new St Cyprian’s by the Right Reverend Dr Gaul, Bishop of Mashonaland, was an event of more than usual significance in the annals of the Anglican Church, in view of the proposal for the founding of a new See with Kimberley as its cathedral city. Therefore it is not surprising that considerable anxiety was expressed by many even unconnected with the Anglican Church that the building to be erected should be worthy of the great place it will in all probability occupy as the future cathedral of the diocese of Griqualand West and Bechuanaland. Upon this point it is a matter for congratulation that the building committee have decided upon the Gothic style of architecture, for, as Sir G Gilbert Scott says of this style, “its glory is the solemnity of religious character which pervades the interior of the temples.” The plans drawn up by Mr DW Greatbatch MSA, give every indication of a building that will be a credit not only to the members of the Anglican Church, but to the community in general and South Africa as a whole. The only matter for regret is that the edifice will have to be built piecemeal owing to the insufficiency of funds.
The ceremony was unfortunately marred by a heavy shower, rain beginning to fall at its commencement and continuing almost to its close, when the sun broke forth and a glorious rainbow appeared. To many this weather appeared symbolical of the undertaking, for it is well-known the scheme for a new St Cyprian’s has long been mooted, but many difficulties have had to be overcome before the work of building could be commenced.
The Anglican clergy resident on the Diamond Fields received the Bishop at St Michael’s School, and headed by the combined choirs of the various Anglican churches, walked in procession from the School across Dutoitspan Road to the site of the new church singing the hymn, “All people that on earth do dwell.” Ascending a platform erected for the occasion, the Bishop took his place in the centre of his clergy, and the service, conducted by the Rector of Kimberley, the Reverend TC Robson, assisted by the Venerable Archdeacon Weekes, proceeded according to the prescribed form.
Following Psalm 127, Bishop Gaul, having been handed an inscribed silver trowel by Mr Cranswick, proceeded to lay the stone, assisted by the architect, Mr DW Greatbatch, and the builder, Mr J Newton.
Prior to the singing of the last hymn, Bishop Gaul delivered a brief address.
After an expression of his regret at having been prevented from being with them the previous Sunday, and his pleasure at being able to be present with them to lay the foundation stone, Dr Gaul said that the place of worship they had hitherto had had at best been but a poor miserable makeshift, but nevertheless one that had been to many a home for worship and a shrine of inspiration to hundreds upon hundreds of men, women and children.
Having spoken in warm terms of praise of the lines upon which the church had been planned, and the energy and perseverance of all concerned with its erection, and referred to the symbolical nature of the foundation stone, Dr Gaul said he had known Kimberley for over 30 years, during which time many who had lived their lives here for the glory of God had passed away. Did they not remember the sister who started the girls’ school in De Beers Road, or her to whom the splendid establishment was due which had won for itself a name throughout the whole of South Africa. After referring to names that were well-known in Kimberley in connection with Christian work, Bishop Gaul said there was one whom they all used to know so well for her work in poverty stricken homes – Mary Watkins – and whom, he was glad to know, would not be forgotten in this church.
He naturally wished them every blessing upon this work, and prayed it would become the new diocese centre of Griqualand West and Bechuanaland. He knew the anxiety attendant upon the founding of a diocese, but if they wanted anything they must work for it. If they wanted this church to be completed they must find the requisite £5000 this year. That was a solemn duty laid upon them. It meant very little a week for such a wealthy community, and for such a purpose as the money was needed it should be forthcoming fourfold. He prayed that this work begun in hope might soon be completed. Wherever he might be, St Cyprian’s and the whole of Kimberley socially, politically, and in its religious life, would ever occupy a warm place in his heart.
The closing hymn was “Now thank we all our God,” singing which the choir, followed by the clergy, walked in procession back to the St Michael’s School.
The collection that was taken realized the sum of £332 17s.
Amongst those who attended were: the Mayor and Mayoress, Councillors John Orr and GT Belding, Colonel HT Tamplin, Mr Garcia DSO, Mr EJ Philpott RM, Drs AH Watkins and JE Mackenzie, Messrs WH Addison, Percy, BL Dyer, S Tidd-Pratt, NS Brown, ER Gunning, Prescott Grassie, S Brown, PW Mallett, S Stokes, WA Buxton, TJ Poole, WF Cranswick, Rev Harris Isaacs, Rev W Pescod, etc.
(Adapted from the Diamond Fields Advertiser, 6 March 1907.)