In August 1965 architects were commissioned to undertake the design and construction of the new Cathedral, on a new site in Clifton. They immediately set up a dialogue with the church and its advisors to formulate a brief. The Second Council of the Vatican was meeting in Rome, Italy, discussing the renewal of the church in its relationship to the world, and the Councils decree on liturgical worship helped to focus attention at Clifton on the role of the people, with the bishop and their priests in the celebration of the Eucharist. The impressive doors offer a welcome to all who visit the Cathedral. They incorporate the Coats of Arms of the city and county of Bristol and the Shield of the Seventh Bishop of Clifton, Joseph Rudderham and were originally presented by the city of Bristol at the opening in 1973, which year also marked the 600th centenary of the granting of the city Charter in 1373.
The main doors of St Peter Portal and St Paul Portal lead into the narthex that contains two coloured glass windows by Henry Haigh. Over 8,000 pieces of glass gathered from many locations throughout Europe, were used in their construction. So pause to remember, the carpenters who constructed the Cathedral in timber to make the formwork in which the concrete was poured to give that perfect finish of the grain of the Red Redwood pine timber from the Kara Sea in northern Russia; or the single worker who personally, over a three year period, mixed every bag of sand and cement on site to ensure that it was the perfect chemical mix to get the required result; and the architects, engineers and other members of the construction team in those heady days between 1969 and 1973 while the Cathedral was being constructed.