In 2008 a stray cat started visiting the Cathedral between Christmas and New Year waiting at the South West Doors each morning for food
After being fed each morning for a few days, this cat decided (as cats do) that the Cathedral is where she wished to live and has been with us ever since.
Given the name Doorkins Magnificat by the Vergers who served her on a daily basis, Doorkins was very much part of the Cathedral fabric and was popular with the congregation, visitors and staff. A number of visitors came to the Cathedral just to see her and she has even had the honour to entertain HM Queen Elizabeth II.
In August 2017 Doorkins published her first book which gives a complete tour of the Cathedral and a typical week in the life of our self-proclaimed Magnificat.
Doorkins could be quite elusive but it was not uncommon to see her walk in front of the altar during a service, asleep on the Dean’s stall in the Choir during the day or cat-napping in the Churchyard if the sun is out. In the winter months, she liked to stretch out on one of the radiators or snuggle into the hay at the Nativity Crib during Advent and Christmas.
On Wednesday 30 September, Doorkins sadly died peacefully.
She had been living in retirement with one of the Cathedral vergers since the end of 2019 and died in his arms following a stroke. Doorkins came to Southwark Cathedral in 2008 and made her home with us. She had been living wild until she saw a place of sanctuary at Southwark Cathedral, and she gradually began to trust those who fed and looked after her.
She remained an active and fearless cat, wandering around the Cathedral and outside during her time with us, until the London Bridge terrorist attack in 2017. At that time she was shut out of the Cathedral for a number of days and once inside again she did not leave the warmth of the place which she had come to think of as home and where she knew she was safe.
Doorkins went into retirement when she could no longer see and the Cathedral was then not a safe place for her, as she could not navigate it without mishap. Her last months were very happy and she was well loved in her place of retirement.
Doorkins remains will be brought back to the Cathedral in due course and the Dean will give thanks for the pleasure and affection she showed to so many.
Commenting on Doorkins passing the Dean of Southwark, The Very Revd Andrew Nunn said, ‘The community at Southwark Cathedral is saddened by the death of Doorkins. Like many people before her she found her way to us and was welcomed and made us her family and this place her home. She brought us so much pleasure and much joy to her many fans and followers. She met Her Majesty The Queen and was present at more services than most of us. She was photographed by thousands of people and had a book written about her. She has been a blessing to us in so many ways. We will miss her.’
The Verger who cared for her to the end commented, ‘In the past couple of weeks her health declined rapidly and during the night of the 30th of September her health very suddenly and quickly deteriorated. She died in my arms to the sound of a familiar voice peacefully at 8.20pm. I miss her more than words can say such was the impact she had on me and all who loved her so dearly.’
A book of memories for people to leave pictures and stories about Doorkins can be found here
'Southwark Cathedral is part of the fabric of London and Doorkins is part and parcel of the Southwark Cathedral family. I have very fond memories of my visits to Southwark Cathedral - each one with Doorkins taking pride of place.'
- Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London