£10m Boost for Winchester Cathedral
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Despite pouring down with rain for most of the day, the sun appears to be shining on the city today in other ways – with a successful second round application from the Heritage Lottery Fund resulting in a £10m boost for Winchester Cathedral.
The national grant of £10.5m has been awarded to enable essential repairs to the Cathedral fabric and conserve its medieval windows.
It will also enable the development of three new major exhibitions.
Kings and Scribes – The Birth of a Nation will engage and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds.
The Cathedral received news that it had succeeded at the first round in May last year, which meant that the HLF felt that the project had the potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money.
Along with that pass came a £475k initial grant to support the assessment and development of the project with a view to an application for round two, which was submitted this April and has now been approved.
£10m Boost for Winchester Cathedral – reaction
The Cathedral’s Receiver General, Canon Annabelle Boyes, spoke of how their confidence has come true: “Last year I was able to say that I was delighted that we were in a position where we could realistically look forward to the day when we could fulfil some long held aspirations for repairs, conservation and the significant enhancement of what we offer our visitors. Today I am delighted to be able to say that work can commence, thanks to this significant contribution from the HLF.”
Winchester & Chandler’s Ford MP Steve Brine told Winchester Today that he welcomes today’s decision: “This is such good news. I have recently been into the Cathedral to see the plans and the vision the team have so I couldn’t be more pleased they can now be fully realised.
“This building is so much part of Winchester but also of our nation so it’s quite fitting the national lottery can help it thrive and reach out to the next generation in this way.”
The world famous 12th Century Winchester Bible will now be made more accessible and fully interpreted to the most modern standards in a fantastic Romanesque space on the ground floor.
A mezzanine will accommodate a rolling display of the Cathedral archives and give access to the 17th century Morley library, increasing accessibility to those rare books and documents.
Additionally the Triforium Gallery will house two completely new exhibitions. Decoding the Stones will focus upon the story of the creativity of generations of people who have been inspired by the building to shape and reshape its architecture.
Kings and Scribes – The Birth of a Nation will explore the Cathedral’s central role in centuries of the nation’s history, telling stories of power and wealth, turbulence and influence.
£10m Boost for Winchester Cathedral – the work so far
The past year has seen 28 conservators and other experts work with a team of Cathedral staff and Volunteers to create a project and an activity plan which will transform the Cathedral for generations to come.
Stuart McLeod is Head of HLF South East, and told Winchester Today why the project is so special: “Winchester Cathedral is one of the UK’s most important cathedrals having weathered the test of time for over nine hundred years.
“A five-year programme of urgent conservation work will ensure this precious site is protected for the future as well as revealing far more about its historic treasures through major new exhibitions.
“There is a strong tradition of volunteering at the Cathedral, and plans to encourage more people to get involved, particularly from the local community, are something we applaud.”
The Dean of Winchester, The Very Revd James Atwell believes that Winchester Cathedral has a significance beyond the ordinary: “The Cathedral needs to tell its story effectively in the 21st Century and offer an exceptional experience to visitors and worshippers alike.
“The support of the Heritage Lottery Fund is very exciting as it will enable the Cathedral both to maintain its fabric and to fulfil its potential with a fresh burst of energy and dynamism in our own generation.
“The Cathedral has always been about Community and this award will increase our ability to reach out, welcome and serve the wellbeing of a new generation.”
It is expected that work will commence on the urgent repairs in the early Autumn and the conservation and exhibition projects will follow shortly.
Main Picture: Ruth McNeilage working on the Cathedral bosses