Canterbury Cathedral: The Canterbury Journey
The restoration of Canterbury Cathedral is part of ‘The Canterbury Journey’ project – a five year development that will conserve and safeguard Canterbury Cathedral’s heritage for future generations and enrich the experience of those who visit it.
The work has been made possible thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund providing a grant of £13.8 million alongside the generosity of donors in the UK and USA who have given £10.9 million through the Canterbury Cathedral Trust. £250,000 was also donated by The Friends of Canterbury Cathedral.
Speaking to Premier Construction magazine about the project, Project Director Mark Hosea said: “The whole project contains lots of different capital works in terms of conservation, restoration and new build elements in and around the Cathedral and its Precincts, but also because it is significantly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund; it also includes lots of engagement, outreach and education outcomes.”
During the course of the project, the western end of the Cathedral is being restored and enhanced with repairs to the West Towers, Nave roof and Christ Church Gate, as well as landscaping work to significantly improve access and bring visual coherence to the South Precincts.
Mark added: “We are re-roofing the whole Nave. It has a temporary roof covering at the moment so all of the lead can be stripped off and sent away to the smelters and then brought back to site to give it a new life span. Any timber repairs and replacements will be carried out at the same time so the roof will become watertight and structurally sound for the next 100 years. We are also doing stone restoration and replacement on the Nave and the west front, West Towers and Christ Church Gate.”
A new Welcome Centre will provide information, ticketing services and shop. In addition, a purpose-built community space will host a range of activities and events that could include anything from messy play for children to workshops and seminars; a truly flexible and multi-purpose space.
“At the moment you can’t really see the Cathedral unless you pay to enter the Precincts, whereas with Heritage Lottery Funding, it is about access and equality for all, and therefore as part of the Welcome Centre there will be a free-to-enter viewing gallery constructed where you can find out more about the Cathedral, see objects from the collections and see views that have never been seen before. At that point if you wish to purchase a ticket, you can do so and experience it for yourself,” said Mark.
Finally, new interpretation trails, exhibitions, online resources and a multi-media guide will open up access to the Cathedral’s historic treasures.
Commenting on the importance of the project not only to the community, but to himself, Mark said:
“Canterbury Cathedral is the mother church of the Anglican Communion, so it has a global audience that engages with it from a religious perspective, but it is also part of a World Heritage Site and the local community, so different audiences engage with it from cultural, historical and heritage perspectives too. So the project will create an environment and legacy that is befitting of a building of this significance and importance, creating facilities and a general environment that leaves a legacy for future generations to enjoy.
“For me, day to day it is strange, because you come to work and do the job, with days often spent in meeting rooms where you can become oblivious to your surroundings and other days you can be on site with works and are just overwhelmed and in awe of the building and the people working on it. That’s the thing, it’s all about the people, whether they are staff, volunteers, worshipers or visitors, this place is for them and their enjoyment of it and it doesn’t function without them. From my perspective I am part of a team that is on a literal journey, creating a new history working on the Cathedral and its Precincts; but we are part of the continuity of other people who came before us for hundreds of years delivering similar works and those that will come after us. For me it is an honour to work on a building of this nature with the team we have got, and that is what I will take away with me when this project completes. Before this, I worked on York Minster doing a similar job and so when I look back on my career, I will look back on it with great fondness having worked on two amazing buildings of such beauty and significance.”
For more information visit: https://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/learning/heritage-lottery-funding-the-canterbury-journey/ or @No1Cathedral on social media.