All of the photographs in this collection pre-date 1914 are dated earlier than 1914 – so we see Reims cathedral as it was before the devastation caused by shelling on the Western Front in World War I.
On 19 September 1914, the city of Reims underwent an eight-hour bombardment from German troops deployed in the surrounding hills. At 3pm that day, enemy shelling set fire to the scaffolding around the north tower. The blaze spread to all part of the carpentry superstructure, which collapsed. The bells in the tower melted in the intense heat and lead poured through the stone gargoyles.
The cathedral was rebuilt after the war thanks to the generosity of our American allies ->article4221] and the restored building was inaugurated in a solemn Mass that was celebrated by the Papal Legate on 10 July 1938.
The Rheims Cathedral clock and carillon form an inseparable part of the liturgical life overseen by the cathedral chapter. Today they ring out once more thanks to the patronage of Winegrowers and Champagne Houses, whose support was rewarded on 5 December 1988 with those long awaited first chimes.