For the first time ever people can take a 360 degree virtual tour of St Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham.

Visitors can explore online this hidden jewel on the edge of the city’s Jewellery Quarter and uncover all its fascinating history.

St Chad’s was the first Catholic Cathedral erected in Great Britain in 1841 following the Reformation of the 16th Century.

It was designed by the great Gothic Revivalist Augustus Welby Pugin, who was also responsible for the Palaces of Westminster and the iconic clock tower of Big Ben.

The new virtual tour is suitable for all ages and is packed full of information.

As you prepare to begin the tour you can watch welcome videos from Archbishop Bernard Longley and the three Area Bishops, David Evans, William Kenny and Stephen Wright.

Listen as Archbishop Bernard recalls his First Holy Communion (with a particular memory for the breakfast afterwards of cake, jelly and ice cream!) and reveals what it was like to travel in the Popemobile when the-then Pope Benedict visited Birmingham in 2010.

And did you know? His Grace loves music and enjoys singing very much!

Bishop David reflects on his favourite Saints, Margaret Clitherow, Anne Line and Margaret Ward, whose Feast Day is celebrated on August 30.

He also reveals he made his First Holy Communion, along with his sister, at Midnight Mass on Christmas Day!

Bishop William talks about his time in Stockholm when he was a Bishop for 19 years and reflects on his membership of the Passionist order.

He also enjoys listening to music (but not jazz!)

Bishop Stephen found it hard to name his favourite Saint, he has so many, but he settled on St Augustine and St Josephine Bakhita.

He also remembers his First Holy Communion and Confirmation very clearly.

Once you virtually enter the doors of St Chad’s Cathedral you are welcomed by the Dean, Mgr Timothy Menezes. His message?

“We hope that this virtual tour will lead you one day to visiting the cathedral in person.”

From here on in visitors can explore every aspect of the cathedral, including the organ loft, crypt and side altars.

Discover the history of the cathedral, what happened when a bomb fell through the roof and why St Chad is so important.

You can also learn about, and understand, the importance of the Front Altar, the Rood Screen, the Bell and Umbrella, The Cathedra (which is Latin for chair), the Tabernacle, the Lectern and much more.

With thanks to cathedral guides Maureen Dadd, Angela Blackwood and Barbara Peel who talk about each and every aspect so clearly on the virtual tour.

The photography was done by Jack Gutteridge from Lightyear Productions and the tour features organ music by Professor David Saint, cathedral Organist and Director of Music.

New features will also be added in time so please do return in future.