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Leicester Cathedral closes for more than a year for restoration and upgrading

05 January 2022

LEICESTER CATHEDRAL

Leicester Cathedral on Christmas Eve

Leicester Cathedral on Christmas Eve

LEICESTER CATHEDRAL has closed until autumn 2023, to enable extensive building works to take place both inside and out.

Work began in October on the £12.7-million restoration and transformation project, termed “Leicester Cathedral Revealed”. All the infrastructure is being upgraded, and a new visitor-and-learning centre, the Chapter House, is being created on the footprint of the demolished Song School.

The need for visitor facilities has grown more urgent since the reburial of King Richard III in the cathedral in 2015, after which visitor numbers increased tenfold.

The cathedral managed to raise the full amount needed for the works, thanks to what the Dean of Leicester, the Very Revd David Monteith, has described as “the exceptional generosity of individual people, businesses, and organisations across the city and county, as well as support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and other grant-making bodies.”

Regular services are transferring to the neighbouring St Martin’s House, and to St Nicholas’s, and on Sunday afternoons the cathedral will tour the diocese as “Together with Leicester Cathedral”. The choirs, clergy, and members of the cathedral community will visit parish churches throughout the city and beyond.

The vision is to “restore the cathedral building, renew its sacred spaces, and reaffirm the cathedral’s place at the centre of a resurgent city and county”. A unified stone floor will remove all changes of level underfoot, and introduce energy-efficient underfloor heating throughout; failing boilers and electrical systems will be replaced, and new lighting and AV installed. Victorian and Arts & Crafts architectural features will be restored and revealed; and stonework and décor repaired to secure the fabric for the long term.

The work “celebrates the convening power of the Cathedral — to reveal the Christian message and to promote compassion and peace in a city and county where all religions are respected”, the cathedral says. “We have taken our inspiration from our forebears in the Victorian and Arts and Crafts periods, who must have considered similar questions 100 or so years ago and come to solutions that were right for their time.”

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