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Westminster cathedral

Westminster cathedral. Commissioned by Cardinal Herbert Vaughan, the third archbishop after the restoration of the Roman catholic hierarchy in Britain, it was designed by J. F. Bentley in neo-Byzantine rather than Gothic style and built 1895–1903; outspoken opposition from many quarters was accompanied by derision (‘Vaughan's Folly’), and his attempt to establish Benedictine monks at the cathedral was unsuccessful. The neo-Renaissance exterior, which includes a lofty campanile, contrasts bands of Portland stone with terracotta brick, but the interior decoration, richly ornamented with marble and mosaic, remains unfinished. The choir has long sustained an outstanding reputation for polyphonic music.

A. S. Hargreaves

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