CHIRST CHURCH SHIMLA
The corner stone for the church was laid down in 1844. Prison labour was used to level down the site selected. However the church was quite cold in the winters and the service for sometime was held in Gordon castle. The Church also leaked a good deal and was far from being complete.
Finally the consecration ceremony was done in Jan. 1857. It was taken over by the government in 1856 and throughout the fifties and the sixties various improvements were carried out e.g. erection of the clock tower, extension of the aisles, provision of a new roof and the construction of the porch (1873).
The organ that was finally placed in the church was bought by Messrs. Organ and Smith of Brighton (1899), for Rs.23000. In 1900 two bells were placed in the church for Rs. 2000. Rs. 89000 was the total cost for the construction of the church, without the organ. Later in 1924, around Rs. 16000 was spent upon improving the organ.
Lord and Lady Minto presented the Lectern bible. The fresco work surrounding the windows was done by Lockwood Kipling and carried out under his supervision by the pupils of the Mayo college of Arts, Lahore.
The church at the lower bazaar, was the first place of Catholic worship in Shimla. The site initially was the abode of an ‘old dispensary’. In 1850 the site was purchased for Rs. 1500 and a further Rs 2900 was spent upon it construction.
Subsequently the representatives of the church decided to built a better, bigger and a more accessible church. For that Gorton Castle was bought for Rs 40,000. However at that time The Viceroy, Marquis of Ripon, asked for the site to be given up for government purpose. The clergyman handed over the site for the same amount as he had paid. The viceroy was so happy that he named that site, ‘Ripon Place’. In 1885 the church was finally constructed for Rs. 80000, Lord Ripon being the primary subscriber.
Over the high altar is a stained glass window, the central figures of which are a group of crucifixion.
On the gallery at the end of the church may be seen a copy of Guido Reni’s famous painting of St. Michaels conquering Satan. The original copy is in Rome.