Delighted officials can now begin work on the project – which includes the creation of a brand-new interpretation centre, restaurant and gift shop – designed to boost visitors to the city.
HLF announced today that it had awarded the Lincoln Cathedral Connected proposal a £900,000 grant to allow the project to start. A further £11.3m has been earmarked for the project but another application to HLF will need to be made to release it.
Lincoln Cathedral Connected is the most ambitious plan to develop tourism at the city’s iconic building for more than a generation.
As well as renovating old and constructing new buildings to create classrooms and an exhibition space, the £16m project will also involve extensive landscaping to the west and north of the Cathedral to create new outdoor spaces. This will open up areas, like the Dean’s Green, to the public for the first time in decades.
Digital guides and innovative interpretation will engage visitors in the fascinating stories and events which have shaped the Cathedral's history.
Lincoln Cathedral Connected will also allow visitors unprecedented access to the Cathedral's collections of archaeological artefacts, treasures, manuscripts and sculpture.
New exhibitions and a varied programme of lectures, tours and workshops will be offered to encourage schools, young people, families and adult learners to visit.
The team behind the bid believe the work will result in an extra 125,000 visitors a year, bringing in an additional estimated profit of £500,000 to the cathedral alone – as well as boosting the local economy generally, building on the momentum generated by Lincoln Castle Revealed which was also HLF-funded.
The project will create a number of new jobs and volunteering opportunities, as well as provide training for Cathedral staff and volunteers. It will also make a vital financial contribution to the conservation of the cathedral’s fabric, which costs around £1.6m to maintain each year.
The Very Reverend Philip Buckler, Dean of Lincoln said: “We are delighted HLF is backing the project and are eager to get started.
“The Connected project will make a real difference to our visitors, our staff and the local community. It will also provide a further boost to the local economy.
“We are thrilled at the prospect of bringing the history and work of the Cathedral to life in a fresh way, and providing better facilities for our visitors to enjoy.”
Vanessa Harbar, Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “Lincoln Cathedral is undoubtedly one of Europe's finest medieval cathedrals, a testament to the architectural ingenuity and craftsmanship of the ordinary people who built it nearly 1000 years ago. HLF’s investment will help to address the urgent repairs needed and unlock the story and symbolism of this historic place of worship.
“This investment follows the successful restoration of Lincoln Castle, and will further demonstrate the difference National Lottery players’ money is making to help preserve and showcase Lincoln – one of our finest surviving Norman power centres - as a key visitor destination.”
Lincoln Cathedral is widely held to be one of the country's finest gothic cathedrals and once sat at the heart of a diocese which stretched from the Humber to the Thames. Today the Cathedral welcomes almost 200,000 visitors a year from all over the world.
Notes to editors
Lincoln Cathedral is deeply embedded in the hearts and minds of people from around the world as a holy place of worship and an architectural gem - one of the finest surviving medieval Cathedrals in northern Europe. It functions as a centre of excellence for its music, library and traditional craft skills and is a place of unrivalled architecture.
Bishop Remigius built the first Cathedral on the site, which was consecrated in 1092. Building continued in several phases throughout the medieval period. Lincoln Cathedral was reputedly the tallest building in the world for 238 years between 1311 and 1549). The central spire on the central tower collapsed in 1549 and was not rebuilt.
The Victorian writer John Ruskin declared: "I have always held... that the Cathedral of Lincoln is out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles and roughly speaking worth any two other Cathedrals we have."
Jon Grubb via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 07780 953575