Birmingham Cathedral is planning a year-long series of faith and heritage events to celebrate its 300th birthday in 2015.
The cathedral, which has been at the heart of the city’s Anglican faith since 1715 when it was built as the church of St Philip, will finish the year of celebration with what organisers are describing as a ‘wow’ art project.
A £30,000 Jerusalem Trust grant has been awarded to start planning the 2015 celebrations and the Cathedral has commissioned Birmingham branding and marketing experts BranchMartinSpicer to create a special logo and help with publicity.
The Very Revd Catherine Ogle, Dean of Birmingham, is leading the project with the support of a team of volunteers and the backing of The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart.
The cathedral also has the support of the Colmore Business Improvement District, which is supporting the celebrations, and Library of Birmingham archives departments for heritage events.
Revd Ogle told the Birmingham Post: “We’d like more to be working to help people understand the values we live and work by and what makes life worthwhile.
“A really important element of the celebrations is about pilgrimage. Birmingham Cathedral is the mother church in a diocese covering 300 square miles with 200 Church of England churches and many, many clergy and supporting services and a congregation of many thousands.
“We’d also like people to engage more with the heritage of the area. So many people work here and pass through, we’d like to tell the story of how the city built up around us.
“We feel our story of this beautiful Cathedral tells the story of the town becoming a city. We want to celebrate we have been here for 300 years and that we’re a place of connection at the heart of the city centre.”
The cathedral draws visitors from across the world who come to admire its stained-glass windows depicting the Ascension, Nativity, Crucifixion and Last Judgement.
They were designed by Birmingham artist Edward Burne-Jones between 1885 and 1891 and created by the firm of William Morris.
Burne-Jones’ stained glass masterpieces influenced the branding for the 2015 celebrations, as did the Cathedral’s architecture.
The branding also encompasses the work of Birmingham printer and type designer, John Baskerville.
Richard Spicer, creative director of BranchMartinSpicer said: “Baskerville is a transitional typeface – meaning that it bridges the gap between Old Style and Modern type design.
“We felt that this relationship, linking the old with the new, was an excellent metaphor for the anniversary identity – allowing us to look back on the past 300 years of the cathedral and look forward to the next 300 years.”
“The cupola and the orb in the 2015 logo relate to the colours in the Burne-Jones stained glass. It’s very dignified,” added Revd Ogle.
The cathedral is planning an arts programme in St Philip's Square where organisers are considering different eye-catching events involving specialist large-projection lighting on the exterior of the cathedral.
“We’ve been very fortunate to secure the Jerusalem Trust grant to enable us to explore what amazing things we can do,” said Revd Ogle.
“We have a wonderful choir from across the city featuring men and women of all different backgrounds which we’d like to feature in the celebrations.
“Of course, underneath it all is that we’re a place of worship within the Christian heritage. We do a lot of educational work with many schools and adult groups where we promote understanding and cohesion.
“We hope our year of celebration will involve people from all different backgrounds.”