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UK news in brief

18 August 2023

York Minster

The Dean of York Minster, the Very Revd Dominic Barrington

The Dean of York Minster, the Very Revd Dominic Barrington

York Minster starts work on heritage-craft centre

A NEW Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management is under construction, after a ground-breaking ceremony on Wednesday of last week. The Centre, which is due to be completed next summer, will provide workshops for craftspeople, including York Minster’s stonemasons, and facilities for teaching heritage crafts. The Dean of York, the Very Revd Dominic Barrington, said that the Centre was “a significant milestone” in efforts to establish the Minster’s Precinct as “a leading destination for preserving and maintaining heritage craft skills”. It will also, he said, further the York Minster Neighbourhood Plan, which aims to secure the long-term future of the Minster and its seven-hectare estate.


Further grant for Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship

THE Hamish Ogston Foundation has announced a grant of more than £500,000 to support the training of heritage craftspeople, including stonemasons and joiners, to work in cathedrals. The funding follows previous grants made by the foundation, established in 2019 by the entrepreneur and philanthropist Hamish Ogston (News, 25 January 2021). In total since January 2021, the foundation has pledged £4 million to the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship, an organisation which trains craftspeople in the skills needed to maintain cathedral buildings. The foundation says that, in total, it has pledged almost £44 million to heritage skills training. Other aspects of its work include supporting schemes to promote choral education in state schools (News, 27 February).


Isle of Man cathedral to close for refurbishment

PEEL CATHEDRAL, on the Isle of Man, is to close until Easter while major refurbishment work is carried out. BBC News reported that the work would include the installation of automatic entrance doors, underfloor heating, more lavatories, and a kitchen. The cathedral dates from the late 19th century, and is dedicated to St German, who was the island’s first bishop.


Insurer urges churches to take steps to prevent arson

ECCLESIASTICAL INSURANCE has advised churches to take actions that could help to prevent or mitigate arson attacks, after six such attacks this year. The advice includes ensuring that church premises are secured at night, installing cameras and lights, and having fire and intruder alarms in place. Cost-free actions are also advised: ensuring that internal doors are kept closed, as this helps to slow the spread of fire; and keeping bins away from the perimeter of the building. The risk-management director of Ecclesiastical Insurance, Jo Whyman, said: “Our data shows that arson attacks on churches, while thankfully rare, do still happen and particularly during the summer months. The impact of these attacks can be devastating.”

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