The Catholic Archdicese of Birmingham Archives

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GPD - Papers of Archbishop George Patrick Dwyer

Dates: 1928-1989

Number of records in this collection: 820


The Papers of George Patrick Dwyer (1908-1987), sixth Archbishop of Birmingham, 1965-1981. George Patrick Dwyer was born on 25 September 1908 in Manchester and attended St Bede's Grammar School, before going to the English College, Rome, where he was ordained for the Diocese of Salford on 1 November 1932, and gained Doctorates in Philosophy and Theology. On his return to England he went to Cambridge University, where he read Modern Languages and gained First Class Honours. From 1937 until 1947 he was on the teaching staff of St Bede's, Manchester, before joining John Heenan at the Catholic Missionary Society. When Heenan was made Bishop of Leeds in 1951, Dwyer became Superior of the Society and in 1957 succeeded Heenan in the see of Leeds. On 7 October 1965 he was translated to Birmingham and was for some years Chairman of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. During his archiepiscopate 26 new churches were built and 210 major school projects, including the Newman College of Education in Birmingham, were undertaken. He resigned the see on 1 September 1981 and died on 17 September 1987. The collection comprises much correspondence of an administrative nature relating to his episcopal work, although there is not as much material as might be expected from his sixteen years as Archbishop of Birmingham. Official papers from the Second Vatican Council are plentiful, as are those concerned with liturgical reforms after the Council, together with the meetings of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, but even here there are some surprising gaps, such as the paucity of material relating to the Theological Commission, of which Dwyer was Chairman. There is little personal material; it is said that Dwyer destroyed nearly all his personal papers before his death.

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