Guildford is my home town, and I grew up with the cathedral looming over me. It stands on top of Stag Hill, in a position that can be seen from miles around. The first stone of the cathedral was laid in 1936, but building was halted during the second world war and the cathedral wasnt finished until 1961. I always remember my dad telling me that he placed one of the bricks in the building when he was about 7 years old - he was from Doncaster, way up in the north of England, and he and his parents were on a trip down south - little did he know he would end up living just round the corner from the cathedral.
According to Wikipedia, the architect of the cathedral Sir Edward Maufe, said: ‘The ideal has been to produce a design, definitely of our own time, yet in the line of the great English Cathedrals; to build anew on tradition, to rely on proportion, mass, volume and line rather than on elaboration and ornament.' Although iconic, perhaps there are more spectacular cathedrals from the outside - but inside is another story. The cathedral is filled with light, and it is elegant and beautiful.
But the cathedral also has a dark side - as a kid, we were all very proud that scenes from the cult horror movie "The Omen" had been filmed there. And I also remember one day our school had some kind of ceremony going on there - but it was cancelled at the last-minute because they found a man who had hung himself from a tree on the cathedral grounds on the morning of the service.
I am not religious in any way, shape or form - but as somebody that is fascinated by human achievement and ingenuity, the buildings and objects created in the name of religion have to be one of the highest forms of human accomplishment and never cease to amaze me.