The final phase of a two year grants programme to English cathedrals for urgent repairs is announced today. Grants totalling £5,423,000 have been awarded to 24 Church of England and Catholic cathedrals for repairs including to stained glass windows, stone pinnacles, and roofs as well as drainage and lighting.
Heritage Minister, Tracey Crouch said: "The First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund has done fantastic work to help revive and restore stunning cathedrals across the country.Cathedrals are not only beautiful pieces of architecture, they hold centuries of our nation's history and are centrepieces in our communities. This important fund will help maintain and repair these historic buildings so they can be enjoyed for years to come by everyone.”
Tracey Crouch will make a ministerial visit Southwark Cathedral on 29 November. The cathedral has benefited from grants from the Fund for re-roofing works to prevent leaks and damage to internal stonework and improvements to drainage. Standing at the earliest crossing point of the tidal Thames, Southwark Cathedral is the oldest Gothic church building in London. It is not only a place of worship but also of hospitality and refuge to people in need. Each year it hosts a fundraising sleep-out for the ROBES winter night shelter and carol services for charities including Crisis and the Alzheimer’s Society as well as for the Mayor of London.
In total,£40 million has been allocated through 146 awards to 57 cathedrals, with twelve cathedrals awarded more than £1 million each and the average award being £274,000. The largest number of projects (approximately a third) are for roof repairs, followed by high-level stonework repairs, then repairs to towers and stained glass windows. A number of essential infrastructure projects (rewiring, drainage, heating systems) have also been supported.
Dr John Inge, Bishop of Worcester and lead bishop for the Church of England, said: ‘Cathedrals are not only the jewel in the crown of our built heritage, they are at the heart of our nation’s common life – through commemoration, remembering, celebration and grief. People can find space and solace in them, both in large acts of worship and solitary contemplation. These welcome grants ensure that they continue to enrich our society in the future.’
The Church of England's 42 cathedrals are estimated to contribute around £220 million to the national economy every year through employment and tourism. They welcome more than 11 million visitors annually, employ more than 7,000 people and are supported by 15,000 dedicated volunteers.
Dame Fiona Reynolds Chair, Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England, said: “These grants have enabled our Cathedrals to take another step forward in the task of ensuring they are in good shape to offer future generations the extraordinary experiences that inspire so many of us today”.
The grants have brought work to specialist trades such as stonemasonry and glazing as well as training partnerships such as at Southwark where the work from the grants will include a training partnership with the City and Guilds of London Art School.
Caroline Spelman MP, Second Church Estates Commissioner, said: ‘This announcement shows the Government’s continuing commitment to supporting the national role of cathedrals as community centres, places of education and training, as well as peaceful retreats and places of great beauty. The £40m Fund is a farsighted investment that will bring a return to cities across the country.’
Sir Paul Ruddock, Chair of the Expert Panel of the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund, which assessed the grant applications, said: ‘England’s cathedrals are at the heart of its communities and this second tranche of funding has enabled essential repairs for buildings, some of which are almost 1000 years old. In every case, the repairs funded have prevented much more costly problems developing and we are very grateful for the government’s continued support.
First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund
November 2016 grant awards