THE beneficiaries of Margaret Thatcher's Britain should be
contributing to the upkeep of the nation's cathedrals, the outgoing
Chair of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission, Frank Field MP, said
Mr Field was speaking on Tuesday at St Paul's Cathedral at the
launch of Cathedrals of the Church of England, a new book
produced to celebrate funding for cathedral fabric repairs,
including the £20 million allocated by the last Government (News,
21 March 2014).
He spoke of Lady Thatcher's "greatest disappointment" being that
cutting taxes did not create a giving society. There was a task
before us, he said, to "get those who have made huge sums of money
to fulfil Mrs Thatcher's dream".
Cathedrals were to be praised for "reinventing their roles so
more people can experience what a cathedral is, and what it does",
he said. They would play a "huge part" in "how we reinvent our
Mr Field paid tribute to the Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, who
had lobbied to secure the First World War Centenary Cathedral
Fabric Repair Fund, he said, increasing it from the £5 million
proposed by the Deans.
Mr Vaizey said that he felt "very strongly and passionately
about heritage", and that both the last Labour government and the
Coalition had "not necessarily given heritage the funding it
deserves. I have always taken the view that when you are up against
it you try to be as imaginative as possible in extracting cash in
He paid particular credit to two sources of philanthropy: the
Wolfson Foundation and the Pilgrim Trust.
Cathedrals of the Church of England has been written by
Janet Gough, director of ChurchCare, the Church of England's
Cathedrals and Church Buildings division, who said that she had
been "struck by the huge activity and energy in our cathedrals
Mr Field's successor will be Dame Fiona Reynolds, director of
the National Trust from 2001 to 2012, before becoming Master of
Emmanuel College, Cambridge.