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British cathedrals are awarded grants for repairs

31 October 2014

by a staff reporter


Works budget: Truro Cathedral, which has received a grant of £500,000 to repair the nave roof

Works budget: Truro Cathedral, which has received a grant of £500,000 to repair the nave roof

MORE than half of the cathedrals in Britain have been given money towards urgent repairs, in the second round of the Government's First World War Cathedral Centenary Repair Fund.

Grants ranging from £15,000 to £600,000 have been announced for 25 Church of England cathedrals and six Roman Catholic cathedrals.

This was the second round of funding from the £20-million pot that was set up to help pay for essential repairs. The third and final round of grants from the fund will be announced next year.

The biggest winner was Clifton RC Cathedral, in Bristol, which was given £600,000 for urgent roof repairs. The building was completed in 1973. Portsmouth Cathedral was given £594,000 for repairs to its tower and south transept, and Truro Cathedral was given £500,000 for repairs to its nave roof.

Between them, the cathedrals in the diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales will receive more than £924,000. Bradford Cathedral will receive £349,479 for repairs to the state gate; Ripon Cathedral will receive £354,617 for repairs to the north transept and roof; and Wakefield Cathedral will receive £220,000 to repair the quire and nave roof.

At Ripon, part of the project involves the replacement of some of the cathedral's gargoyles, which have weathered to the point where their original designs cannot be made out. The designs for the new gargoyles will be decided through a competition, details of which will be announced in the new year. The new gargoyles are expected to be installed by August 2015.

Some cathedrals have been given grants in both rounds of the funding - such as Exeter Cathedral, which has been given £278,000 this time, for repairs to the chapel of St Andrew and St Catherine, after receiving a grant for repairs to another chapel in the first round of funding.

The Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, the lead bishop for cathedrals and church buildings, said: "Cathedrals are a success story - not just for the Church, but for the cities where they are located, and the millions of people who enjoy their architectural splendour, magnificent music, and open welcome each year.

"It is entirely appropriate that the Government has recognised that, in supporting cathedrals, they are also supporting local communities across England.

"The outcome of these grants will have echoes far beyond mere building works. It is an investment in beautiful places which, in turn, support and encourage the people among whom they minister, making a significant contribution to human flourishing in each of our cathedral cities and beyond."

The chairman of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England, Frank Field MP, said: "As moving commemorations of the First World War continue to be held across England, it is a most excellent thing to see taxpayers' money being used to create a lasting legacy of cathedral grants which takes the pressure off building repairs, and allows cathedrals to be the centres of remembrance and worship that people rely on them to be.

"There is always more to be done, but through this scheme [the] Government has begun a very vital task."

Cathedral cities "at risk". A new report for English Heritage, The Sustainable Growth of Cathedral Cities and Historic Towns, warns that historic cathedral cities in England are at risk because local authorities are under pressure to build new homes and boost the economy. Durham, Winchester, Lichfield, and Salisbury are among those said to be under threat from redevelopment, the report says.

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