Portsmouth’s Anglican cathedral is the mother church of our diocese and the base for the Bishop of Portsmouth. It hosts many of our most important diocesan events – confirmation services, ordinations of new ministers and diocesan-wide celebrations. It’s especially popular at Christmas and Easter, when multiple services have to take place to fit everyone in. Acts of worship in a variety of different styles happen here every day of the year.
It also has an important role in the city of Portsmouth, hosting civic events, school services and events of artistic and cultural importance. It’s open every day for visitors, and thousands of people pop in to spend a moment in peace and quiet, to take in some of its architecture and heritage, to browse through the bookshop, or to ask for prayer from one of its chaplains.
Our cathedral is unusual in that it also has a parish – much of Old Portsmouth and the city’s Naval Base. For those who live in that part of Portsmouth, the cathedral is their parish church, and weddings, baptisms, funerals and midweek activities happen there, much like any other church.
Portsmouth is also unusual in having both Church of England and Roman Catholic cathedrals in the same city. The two cathedrals work well together and are both part of the inter-denominational group Churches Together in Central Portsmouth.
The Anglican cathedral only became a cathedral in 1927 when the Diocese of Portsmouth was carved out of the old Diocese of Winchester. The history of the building stretches back to the 12th century, but the impressive west end of the cathedral was only completed in the 1990s. More recent developments include the transformation of Cathedral House – on the other side of St Thomas’s Street – into a music centre, rooms for community use and cathedral offices.
St Thomas's Street Old Portsmouth, PO1 2HH