Durham Cathedral Open Treasure
Durham Cathedral is investing over £10 million in a state-of-the-art exhibition experience that will take visitors on a journey tracing the history of the Cathedral’s origins through to life in the Cathedral today.
Open Treasure will see the renovation and refurbishment of 14th century buildings within the Cathedral and will see the installation of an exhibition and gallery space to give the Cathedral the opportunity to open up areas, making them fully accessible to the public for the first time.
Tom Billington, Property and Facilities Manager at Durham Cathedral said: “It is a £10.9m project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and other donors that will mean that we can open up these wonderful spaces while showcasing our treasures alongside a rolling programme of exhibits from other notable institutions.
“We have manuscripts dating as far back as the sixth and seventh century, including early edition copies of important printed books and three issues of the Magna Carta, as well as the Treasures of St Cuthbert such as his Pectoral Cross and it is wonderful to think that people will be able to enjoy seeing these fabulous exhibits in an equally impressive setting.”
Work on the project started in June 2014 and this exciting exhibition experience is due to open to the public this summer.
Tom explained the process to create the new spaces has been strictly governed: “Although the Cathedral is a Grade I listed building, we are also governed by different rules and regulations set out in the Care of Cathedrals Measure, an Act of Parliament. This means any intervention into the fabric of the building needs to be approved by the Cathedral’s own Fabric Advisory Committee, with certain matters requiring escalation to the Cathedral Fabric Commission for England, a national statutory body.
“Open Treasure is one of the most complex projects the commission has had to deal with,
due to the fact that we are creating a state-of-the-art exhibition route, using some of the most modern technological advancements available within one of the most historically significant buildings in England, sitting at the center of a much loved World Heritage Site.”
Open Treasure, the world-class exhibition route, will provide access to previously hidden spaces within the Cathedral’s magnificent Claustral buildings. The new exhibition route will begin in the Monk’s Dormitory and end in the Great Kitchen before visitors return to the Cloister via the Covey. The new exhibition spaces will allow the Cathedral to display more of the treasures in its internationally important collections, which currently lacks both the space and specialist facilities to do so, alongside a dynamic rolling exhibition programme.
The exhibition experience will be dynamic and engaging, taking visitors on a historic and cultural journey, with something to interest visitors of any age. Interactive exhibits will bring the Cathedral’s history to life, giant Anglo-Saxon stone crosses will impress as they loom high over visitors heads and the Cathedral’s artistic traditions such music and embroidery will fascinate, woven together in a timeline of the Cathedral’s life.
Tom added: “We always knew that there would be difficulties in displaying such fragile Treasures as our own within a 14th century building. This is why we have been working with some of the world’s leading specialists in the heritage and museums sector who have assisted us in creating the exact environment required for the display of such sensitive and historic items.
“We have worked with two international firms to create the exhibition showcases, one of which is based in Milan and the other in Holland. Goppion and Bruns have, between them, kitted out museums all over the world and are much-respected experts, so we feel privileged to have been able to work with them on this exciting development.”
With Open Treasure nearing completion, Tom is proud to have worked on a project that has and will make an impact promoting the Cathedral and the wider region across the world.
Tom ended: “Open Treasure is not only an exciting development for visitors, but the income generated from the exhibition experience will help to ensure that Durham Cathedral can maintain its free access. There is no fee at the door of Durham Cathedral and visitors can worship and visit here free of charge, however the upkeep of the building does not pay for itself and Open Treasure will help ensure that this beautiful Cathedral is well looked after and maintained for many generations to come.”
JMD Decorating Services Ltd
JMD Decorating Services Ltd is a decorating contractor operating from offices based in Rowland’s Gill, Tyne and Wear. JMD Decorating Services Ltd has been trading since August 2009, covers all aspects of the painting and decorating trade and is a company to rely on.
Mick Clennan, Contract’s Manager for JMD Decorating Services Ltd, said:
“When it comes to meeting clients’ decorating needs, nobody does it better.
“Whether it is a long term project or a maintenance programme, we cover all our projects with the same commitment and dedication that all our clients deserve.”
“At Durham Cathedral we carried out the preparation and painting elements on all existing walls, ceilings and windows, following on from the works carried out by main contractor, Simpson of York.
“It is always important and a great pleasure to preserve buildings like the cathedral for future generations, so that people have the opportunity to visit them in the future and really appreciate the classic features of years gone by.”
As well as the recent works carried out at Durham Cathedral, JMD Decorating has completed work all over the country on many JD Wetherspoon pubs, Beefeater and Brewers Fayre pubs, as well as for Premier Inn, Encore hotels and Hilton. Additional projects have included Otterburn Army Camp, Northumbria University, Newcastle University, Gateshead College, Laing Art Gallery Newcastle, Discovery Museum Newcastle, Brunswick Church Newcastle and regular work for Nationwide and Lloyds-TSB. JMD Decorating Services Ltd also provides services for care homes, hospitals and holiday camps.
JMD Decorating services ltd are proud to be associated with the works carried out on Durham Cathedral and as a company always pride themselves on providing the best decorating experience their clients will ever have.
Historic Property Restoration Ltd
Historic Property Restoration Ltd specialise in the conservation of historic and architecturally important buildings throughout England.
The company became a limited company in 1996 and are formally a construction arm of English Heritage. They regularly work for Historic England, The National Trust and private clients throughout the UK. Projects that the company usually work on include castles, abbeys, Priories, Industrial Monuments, churches and many other listed structures.
Historic Property Restoration recently worked alongside Durham Cathedral on their Open Treasure Project and was the Stonemasonry Contractor for the conservation works to the fabric of the Cathedral.
John Gibson, Managing Director at Historic Property Restoration Ltd said: “The Durham Cathedral scheme for Historic Property Restoration Ltd meant that we would be working on one of the most important conservation schemes in the country.
“As a company we pride ourselves on quality, fine craftsmanship, attention to detail and a genuine pride in our work, which are inherent throughout all of our working practices.”