The Cathedral and its Parish


A Consecration at Southwark Cathedral
Southwark Cathedral

As well as being the Cathedral Church for the Diocese of Southwark, Southwark Cathedral is also a parish church with legal and pastoral responsibilities for the people who live in the parish.

The Cathedral is happy to welcome people who live in the parish for baptisms, marriages or funerals. The Cathedral clergy are available to people in the parish who need pastoral or spiritual support. Please contact the Canon Pastor (020 7367 6706). 

The parish is geographically small but contains all the things that make life in London exciting and challenging: homes, offices, businesses, building sites, roads and railways, hotels and hospitals, galleries and theatres, betting shops and nightclubs, charities and hostels for the homeless, schools, colleges and universities, and of course the south bank of the River Thames. The 5,000 people who live in the Cathedral parish come from all over the world and speak many languages. Most of them are young.

Much of the housing originally provided by the Council or by philanthropists like the Peabody Trust and the Corporation of London, is now privately owned or managed by housing associations.  But the historic population has grown as a result of the new luxury flats, student halls of residence and hotels that are springing up on old industrial and commercial sites.

Every day the residential population is swollen by the huge numbers of people who sweep through the parish on their way to and from work in major financial institutions including the Royal Bank of Scotland, national media including the Financial Times and IPC, and Guy’s Hospital one of the largest employers in the area. There are ever-increasing numbers of visitors to Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, Borough Market and the Cathedral itself. During the 2012 London Olympics and when the Shard, Europe’s tallest building, opens and brings in more workers and visitors, local transport and commercial infrastructure will be severely tested.

The Cathedral Parish is however a community - or a network of micro-communities, for every street corner opens up a new and distinctive neighbourhood. 

The Cathedral and other local churches play their part in the life of this local community. As well as offering glorious Anglican worship several times each day, the Cathedral offers choir training for girls and boys, and many volunteer opportunities for Welcomers and Cathedral guides. The Cathedral has close links with Lucy Brown House, which offers sheltered accommodation to elderly people, hosts an Al Anon family group and was a founder member of the ROBES Project, a church-run winter night-shelter for the homeless

The Cathedral has close and important links with schools and enjoys good ecumenical relationships with local churches of other traditions and with the Lutheran Cathedral in Bergen, the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Rouen, and with the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe.

There are many opportunities for people who live, study or work in the Cathedral Parish to participate in the life of this vibrant local community, to meet others and to get involved in the planning consultations and the political decision-making which are shaping the future of this neighbourhood.

Key local groups include:

The Bankside Residents Forum has regular presentations on new development schemes and creates opportunities to work in detail on responses to planning consultations to maintain and improve the quality of life for the resident population. It also runs events to help people get to know the area.

The Community Film Club, based at Tate Modern, showing mainly films of local and south London interest as well as artist related evenings. Mondays, 6.30pm refreshments, film at 7pm. Free. Contact

Tate Community Garden is a quiet oasis between Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe for those who live within walking distance and /or have no access to their own garden. There are regular community gardening sessions. Contact

Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) supports local groups of people to get involved with gardening, either looking after a local patch of flowers or growing vegetables in a wacky range of containers. They also work with volunteers from local workplaces and local residents. Schemes in the parish include food growing on the Maiden Lane Estate in Park Street and the improvement of English Heritage’s Winchester Palace in Clink Street.

Blackfriars Settlement lies just outside the parish, but serves those who live here. The Settlement organises clubs for the visually impaired, elderly and housebound, workshops for those with learning difficulties and supports young

To keep up with all these activities read, an award winning local website.