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Heating system to take chill off Manchester Cathedral

21 December 2012


Cool: part of Manchester Cathedral's West Window 

Cool: part of Manchester Cathedral's West Window 

A LARGE part of Manchester Cathedral is to close for eight months, in a bid to remedy the building's "unhealthy" chill.

From next Easter, services will move to a temporary structure outside the cathedral, while a state-of-the-art geothermal heating system is installed in the nave and the adjoining regimental chapel. The Dean, the Very Revd Rogers Govender, said: "We should be able to handle around half of our normal capacity congregation of 900."

The cathedral has increasingly been used as a concert venue, and for award ceremonies and formal dinners. "The heating in the nave is 40 years old," Dean Govender said. "The pipes of the underfloor heating need replacing, but we have first to break up the 18 inches of concrete on top of them.

"Then we are going green with this new, innovative ground-source heating system, using geothermal technology, which would supplement the heat provided by the existing boilers."

Proposals for the work have been sent to the Cathedrals Fabric Commission, and the Chapter has discussed planning requirements with Manchester City Council. The Dean hopes that the go-ahead will be given in January. He declined to give a price for the work. "We have a sum in mind, but are about to go out to tender. We will be appealing to the public for contributions, and applying for grants."

The social-enterprise company Create, which was operating the café in the cathedral's Visitor Centre, has ceased trading. The cathedral is currently considering the options for the use of the space.

Cathedral conservation. Grants of almost £1 million have been awarded for 21 projects at 17 English cathedrals. Ten payments, totalling £645,000, from the Cathedral Fabric Repair Fund, include £100,000 each to Gloucester, Hereford, and Worcester, and £90,000 to Lincoln, all for repairs to roofs and walls.

The fund is a partnership between the Wolfson Foundation, the Pilgrim Trust, and the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England, which, over the past three years, has awarded more than £1.8 million for essential works to keep cathedrals weatherproof.

Frank Field MP, who chairs the Fabric Commission, said: "One of the most significant aspects of these grants is that we have included a number of cathedrals for which fund-raising is less easy, and also several with innovative solutions to problems posed by 20th-century materials and climate change."

The grants include £30,000 for work on the copper roofs at Guildford; and awards totalling £236,000 for work on Coventry Cathedral, Pershore Abbey, Southwell Minster, and Bradford Cathedral.

A further six grants, totalling £71,000, are being offered by the fund for the conservation of artworks and historic furnishings to Derby, Coventry, Exeter, Salisbury, and Wakefield Cathedrals. They include £30,000 for the restoration of the organ at Exeter; and £30,000 for a feasibility study for the conservation of the 1962 Graham Sutherland tapestry, Christ in Glory, at Coventry.

The full list of grants is:

Cathedral Fabric Repair Fund

Chester £40,000; Gloucester £100,000; Guildford £30,000; Hereford £100,000; Leicester £16,000; Lincoln £90,000; Peterborough £28,000; St Edmundsbury £50,000; Southwark £91,000; and Worcester £100,000.

Cathedral Amenities Fund

Bradford £46,000; Coventry £80,000; Pershore Abbey £20,000; Southwell £80,000; Worcester £10,000.

Conservation of Artworks and Historic Furnishings

Coventry £30,000; Derby £3660; Exeter £30,000; Salisbury £5000; and Wakefield £2340.

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