Monday, 11 April 2011

The Cardinal

When we finished cataloguing the Manning papers, we though it would be a good idea to celebrate in The Cardinal, a pub behind Westminster Cathedral named after Cardinal Manning. But we couldn't, because The Cardinal is closed for refurbishment and when it re-opens, it may not even be The Cardinal any more but the Windsor Castle. Archbishop Vincent is backing the campaign to save this historic name and has said that changing it "risked losing a reminder of the Catholic Church's long-standing commitment to the social good".

Throughout his career, Manning was concerned with social charity and improving the conditions of working people. An overview and assessment of his efforts in this area can be found in McClelland's work Cardinal Manning, His Public Life and Influence, especially in Chapter 5 'The Condition of the People'.

However some of the recently catalogued material at Westminster also provides insights into this area of his ministry. A letter from Manning to Herbert Vaughan (Ma. 2/25/40) describes an attempt on his part to prevent though arbitration a repeat of the 1889 dock strike in February 1890 and the hostility of the Times newspaper to his efforts. He writes:

"Last Wednesday, we were again on the brink of a second strike. Mr Buxton and I called together Burns, Warren a Mc Carthy and others [union leaders]. They met in this house on Wednesday night. After two hours we got them to withdraw the Manifesto which would have caused the Strike...The Times knows all this but on Monday attacked and sneered at the men and ignored us. On that day the strike would have begun, but for that Wednesday night".

During the 1889 strike, the press had sided with the workers, with the exception of the Times. Manning had often written letters to the Times urging the Government to provide relief work during the financial crisis. As McClelland notes, he had written in even stronger terms in other publications including that a man's right to life and food prevailed over all laws of property and these were views that "were anathema to The Times and they branded the Archbishop  as a dangerous man in the eyes of many Roman Catholics".

Manning ends his letter with an instruction to Vaughan to carry on in this work:

"Go boldly and mix with the English people. They will trust you but not my brother Benson".

His 'brother Benson' may be Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury who had supported Manning's actions.

A petition to save The Cardinal can be found here. The Diocesan Archivist requests that anyone signing it also mentions another tradition which ought to be continued -the wide range of real ales.

Photo source: Diocese of Westminster,