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Restoring St. Marie’s Catholic Cathedral

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A £1.1 million renovation project to restore St. Marie’s Catholic Cathedral is currently underway.

Located on Norfolk Row, Sheffield, St. Marie’s Catholic Cathedral is a Grade II listed building that was constructed in 1850. The Cathedral opened at a cost of £10,500 a year after its founder Fr. Charles Pratt died and the present restoration marks the first time work has been carried out since 1970.

Conservation and preservation specialist Maysand is the main contractor for the project, whilst Buttress Fuller Alsop Williams Architects is the architect.

The restoration of St. Marie’s Catholic Cathedral comprises the complete internal strip-out of the building – including existing flooring – and the installation of new features in order to modernise the facility.

Once the floor has been removed from the building, the existing slab will be replaced with limecrete stone flooring. During this phase of the works a sarcophagus containing the body of Fr. Charles Pratt will also be removed from the building.

During the restoration work two key features of the building will be restored to their former glory. Lewis Organ is undergoing extensive reconstruction, whilst the main alter will also be carefully renovated.

Additional work includes the installation of a new lighting and audio system, along with associated decoration works and general maintenance work. Work is also being undertaken to correct structural problems that have existed since the Cathedral was first built.

A new Planar glass canopy is also being fitted to the external facade of the Cathedral. The canopy will span the length of the building’s west end and will provide an exciting focal point for the Cathedral.

Bryn Lisle, Maysand, said:

“The work will make a significant difference to the Cathedral when complete and taking up the existing floor and replacing it is a substantial undertaking in its own right.

“We will be installing underfloor heating and laying York stone to create a new paved floor that will give the church a completely different look.We have worked with limecrete in historic churches before and are drawing on that experience for this project.

“Limecrete was the preferred option over cement-based concrete because it is a more breathable and lightweight alternative. It has clear advantages for use on historic buildings like the Cathedral. We have also conducted some research that shows it is a more environmentally friendly option too.”

St Marie’s Catholic Cathedral is scheduled to re-open in autumn 2012.

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