Cathedrals: bringing the UK’s ancient monuments to life
We have invested around £130million in cathedrals across the UK, supporting more than 180 of these breath-taking and renowned places of worship. From the creation of a new public square in the grounds of Gloucester Cathedral, to helping Durham Cathedral display their marvellous collections in its medieval spaces.
Soon, Lincoln Cathedral – embellished by an early English Gothic restoration – will be opening its doors again, following a new major restoration thanks to National Lottery players.
First time in generations
Our grant of £12.5million has helped the Cathedral address urgent repairs, which will contribute to its long-term financial sustainability. Lincoln is the only Church of England Cathedral on Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register.
The restoration involved the conservation of the Romanesque Frieze, Gallery of Kings and Exchequergate Arch. Extensive landscaping has created new outdoor spaces, opening up areas like the Dean’s Green to the public for the first time in decades. The Cathedral’s close is also newly accessible – a priority first identified in 1972.
And the West Front is scaffold-free for the first time since 1986.
Inside the Cathedral, digital guides and innovative interpretation will engage visitors in the fascinating stories and events which have shaped the building’s history. People will have access to collections of archaeological artefacts, treasures, manuscripts and sculptures.
The process of reviewing, auditing and cataloguing the collections has unearthed some unexpected treasures:
- Victorian photographs of earlier repairs
- three medieval silver seals, one of which dates back to the 12th century and is considered a supreme example of Norman art
- a missing jewelled chalice designed by William Butterfield, a leading gothic revival architect and designer in 1887
Lincoln Cathedral truly inspires in so many ways – as a place of worship, a place of beauty and tranquillity, of internationally significant art, architecture and heritage, and a place for the community to meet, learn and explore.
Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The Cathedral reopens on 4 July 2022, and it hopes the National Lottery-funded work will help it attract an extra 125,000 visitors a year.
"We awarded a major grant of £12.5 million in order to address urgent repairs to this critically important 950 year old building.... Our grant was also intended to provide the dynamic facilities that will allow engaging and inspiring visitor experiences now and for generations to come.
“Lincoln Cathedral truly inspires in so many ways – as a place of worship, a place of beauty and tranquillity, of internationally significant art, architecture and heritage, and a place for the community to meet, learn and explore.” Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The Canterbury Journey
Lincoln isn’t the only prominent Cathedral to have undergone major restoration recently.
Our £13.8million grant to Canterbury Cathedral is helping it to:
- complete extensive stonework repairs and stained glass window restoration
- create a new, accessible welcome centre
- increase access to the Cathedral collections – from digital, to new displays in the crypt, water tower and library corridor
- deliver learning and engagement programmes for under-served communities in the Canterbury area and establish a free entry scheme for locals
The Cathedral – which is a World Heritage Site, Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade I listed structure – is open to the public throughout the summer. The Canterbury Journey Project is due to be completed in Autumn 2022.