Cathedral Church of the Holy Family in Exile, London

This is the Cathedral church of the rather long-windedly named Ukrainian Greek Catholic Apostolic Exarchate in Great Britain. Essentially it is the mother church of a Ukrainian off-shoot of the Latin Rite Catholic Church. How such an otherwise obscure order might find the funds or authority to have such a large cathedral so close to the heart of London is unclear.

The original building which is an odd mix of church and civic architecture, was designed by Alfred Waterhouse in 1891 for occupation by the Congregational King’s Weigh House, a church organisation that dates back to 1697 and existed until 1967 when the fading organisation was forced to find another to share its premises. This was the Ukrainian Catholic Church and before long they purchased the building outright.

The Cathedral has become one of the most familiar sights in the West End, even though many are unaware of its true function. It can now be viewed from the roof of the underground car park opposite which gives a good impression of the scale of the structure.

In August 2007 part of the ceiling collapsed and the Cathedral was closed to visitors, this was its second period of closure after the one immediately post World War II whilst the ceiling was re-erected following a bomb hitting it.

Photos - Andrew J. Müller

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