The gospels tell us that on the day when Jesus was taken up into heaven, the day Christians call Ascension Day, the disciples accompanied him to the top of a high mountain. As a way of remembering that there is a tradition of getting to the highest point on that day as part of the celebrations. The tower of Southwark Cathedral was for many centuries the highest point on the skyline of the south bank of the Thames. You only have to look at the ‘Long View of London from Bankside’ the panoramic etching made by Wenceslas Hollar in Antwerp in 1647, to see how true this was. Now, of course, we are overshadowed by much taller buildings, The Shard included. Nevertheless, we continue to climb the steps up to the roof of the tower early on Ascension Day morning and from there, with wonderful views over London, we sing our hymns.
For the past few years we have been unable to do this. The staircase, part of the wooden one which date back to the 16th century, was in need of repair. This work has been completed and so we are delighted that this year we will be able to revive this tradition. You are therefore invited to join the Dean, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, in ascending the tower on Ascension Day, Thursday 10 May.
The group will begin the ascent at 7.20am to sing from the top at 7.30am.
The meeting point is the North Transept, please ensure you arrive by 7.15am as we won't be able to allow you to make the ascent without supervison.
Please be aware that this is a steep, narrow climb with over 200 steps and is not recommended for anyone with heart or breathing difficulties. But if you are able to do it it is well worth it, as we sing hymns at over 160 feet overlooking the great city of London.