History of St Catherine's
Her Majesty Queen Mary paid a special visit to Norwich on the 2nd of February, 1935 to lay the foundation stone of the new Church of St Catherine.
The architect, Mr Alban Caroe, handed the queen a silver trowel with an ivory handle. On the blade was the design of a Catherine wheel and also the words "Her Majesty Queen Mary used me on 2nd February 1935".
Her Majesty was then handed a mallet by Mr Stuart Thompson, who represented the builders. With the trowel she touched the mortar and with the mallet she tapped the four corners of the stone. The stone was then lowered into position and the ceremony was concluded by Her Majesty saying "in the faith of Christ we place this stone".
The Bishop of Norwich, the Right Reverend Bertram Pollock, described the gathering as "the first act of worship in and for the church which our gifted architect will soon raise here in all its beauty. In it, God's love in Christ will be set forth, the word of life will be preached - a bible is being laid beneath this foundation stone - the sacraments of the Church will be administered, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit will be found".
The choirs of Norwich Cathedral and of St Catherine's sang the hymn 'Holy, Holy Holy' and the Rev. W Sinnett Davies shared in the leading of the prayers.
The Bishop dedicated the foundation stone and the whole building to the glory of God. The service concluded with the hymn 'The Church's One Foundation' and then the Blessing.
The Church was consecrated on 12th November 1936 by the Bishop of Norwich. The large gathering included about forty clergy from various churches.
The lessons were from 1 Kings chapter 8, verses 22-30, and Hebrews chapter 10, verses 16-25, and were read by the Rural Dean and the Archdeacon of Norwich. The Bishop preached the sermon, from which the following is an extract:
"Our new church, built by the generosity of one gracious lady, and in accordance with the beautiful design of the architect, whom we gratefully welcome, together with the skilful builder and his team and those who have been the architect's colleagues in stone and glass design - this beautiful church takes its own special place in the company of the older churches in sanctifying our going out and our coming in... We are glad that through the activity of the Vicar and his well-loved predecessor, the church comes not to start but to bless and to advance a church life already going forward. The parish has by this time a sense of its own responsibilities."
The Bishop expressed thanks for the "wonderful munificence and kindness of Miss Violet Wills, whose liberality has made possible the new work for God in the Mile Cross area. May all, indeed be dedicated to His glory!"