The church and pro-cathedral of St Paul’s saw its last service with its congregation on 10 May 1964. It was an emotional time for the congregation: St Paul’s had been their home for almost 100 years, and it must have been difficult to say goodbye. And on the other hand, the opening of the new cathedral was a time of much celebration and relief at a job completed (or at least a significant stage completed; the cathedral was not finally finished until 2001). Their decision about the future of the building was being discussed throughout the city by others who, some felt, did not have the right to tell them what the future of the church should be.
At the end of the final service, Bishop Baines shut the doors of the church (as pictured above) and a procession, carrying the instruments of sacrament, the historical marriage, baptism, confirmation and burial registers, and the prayer book and Bible and other important objects, were removed from the church. A few days later they were brought to the cathedral.
Bishop Baines stated:
‘we come to say a grateful and loving goodbye to the church, which has been the shire of our forebears for 98 years. Today marks the climax of the work of old St Paul’s, just as the ascension of Jesus … was the fulfilment of his mission’.