Tower repairs go to the next level!

02/08/2016
Durham Cathedral has been awarded a second grant from the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund to undertake repairs and conservation work to the Belfry section of the Central Tower.
 
An award of £599,000 has been made to Durham Cathedral in a national round of funding, with grants being handed to 39 Cathedrals across the country.
 
Standing at over 66 metres high, the Central Tower at Durham Cathedral dates back, in its current form, to 1484 (although smaller towers were in place earlier than this date.) Like the rest of the Cathedral, the Tower is constructed from golden sandstone, a beautiful stone, but one that is highly susceptible to erosion and weathering.
 
Thanks, in part, to a previous grant of £568,651 from the same fund, repair works on the Upper Parapet of the Central Tower were able to begin early this year. The initial grant, in addition to support from The Alan Evans Memorial Trust, Allchurches Trust Ltd, Friends of Durham Cathedral, Sir John Priestman Charity Trust and Surtees Trust, enabled the erection of the main scaffold, and allowed the Cathedral’s own team of masons to begin the essential stone conservation work to sections at the top of the Tower damaged by decay and weathering. 
 
The latest grant will support the next two phases of work, costing a total of £996,590.  This includes further stone conservation to both the interior and exterior walls of the Belfry, plus repairs to windows and glazing, replacement of the rainwater disposal system, and the renewal of the internal leadwork of the bell chamber walkway. Additionally, a safe access system for future maintenance of the Belfry interior will be installed. These works are expected to begin in November 2016, to be completed in July 2017.
 
Head of Development at Durham Cathedral, Gaye Kirby, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and ChurchCare, through the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund, for their continued support for the Cathedral’s major repairs programme. Financial support in the form of grants, donations and legacies are vital to the Cathedral being able to continue carry out the works necessary to maintain and conserve this wonderful Cathedral for today’s visitors and future generations to enjoy. From the largest charitable trusts to the children who drop a coin of their pocket money in the donation box as they leave the Cathedral, every penny really does make a difference.”
 
Whilst these works are underway, the Tower will be closed to visitors, but those with a head for heights can book a special tour of the Cathedral’s bell chamber instead. Additionally, as part of a recent £10.9m programme of investment at the Cathedral, the new Open Treasure exhibition experience is now open to the public, telling the history of the Cathedral and Christianity in the North East of England.
 
Donations in support of the care and maintenance of the Cathedral can be made by texting DCAT11 £3 (or the amount you wish to donate) to 70070, or online at www.justgiving.com/durhamcathedral.  Further information can be found at http://www.durhamcathedral.co.uk/beinvolved/supportus/central-tower