The Chapel of the ‘Manchester Regiment’ in Manchester Cathedral.
Early in the morning of 23rd December 1940 a German land-mine exploded just outside the north eastern corner of the Chapel causing very severe damage to the entire Cathedral; the walls and roof at the east end of the Chapel disappeared and the foundations were pulverised. Fortunately the Altar Cross, Candlesticks and Memorial Books had been taken away to a place of safety a few days earlier and were saved.
Immediately after the end of World War II came the task of rebuilding the Chapel under the leadership of Sir Hubert Worthington R.A. He was the Honorary Architect who gathered a team of craftsmen together in 1946 when work commenced in earnest.
The Chapel was in the darkest area of the Cathedral and it was the intention of the architect to change this by glazing all of the windows in crystal clear glass thus allowing the interior to be enhanced and the warmth of the woodwork, stone and the Regimental Colours would be revealed in all their glory. Upon his death in 1964 it was felt that there should be a permanent memorial within the Chapel to him and after discussions with his family it was decided that the east window behind the altar should be filled with colour in his memory. Miss Margaret Traherne was commissioned to design and create this window. As can be seen”… the dominant colour is red, the colour of alarm and of fire with its ancient associations with war and sacrifice and the glory of resurrection..” it ultimately became known by many of the Old Comrades as ‘The Blitz Window’ because it reminded many of them of the flames that arose above Manchester on that December day in 1940.
Tragically, a powerful bomb, the work of Irish Terrorists, was exploded on the morning of Saturday 15th June 1996 causing considerable damage to many buildings in that central part of Manchester near to the Cathedral. Damage to the Regimental Chapel was confined basically to the Worthington Memorial Window that had much of the glass blown out and the leading greatly weakened. An appeal for funds was put in hand by the Chapel Committee and was quickly supported by all units of the Regiment. Miss Traherne was available to advise and supervise the cleaning and replacement of new glass where necessary.