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Restoration work begins in the western arm of the Cathedral Cloisters... (posted 3 August 2017)

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Work starts on the restoration of the western cloister...

Western arm of the Cloisters facing St Richard's Door
Western arm of the Cloisters facing St Richard's Door

The much awaited restoration of the western arm of the Cathedral's cloisters is now under way. The scaffolding and hoarding went up on 10th July 2017 and the work has begun. Built in the 15th century, Chichester Cathedral’s cloisters have been a busy thoroughfare for over 600 years. As well as providing covered passage for clergy, lay staff and worshippers, the cloisters extend and enhance the visitor's experience, providing access to the Cathedral shop and café, Cathedral Close and Bishop’s Palace Gardens. Often filled with the chatter of visiting school groups from across the Diocese and overseas, the stone benches provide somewhere to rest and observe the beauty of these ancient passageways, which are a unique aspect of Chichester’s heritage.

Chichester Cathedral is an outstanding Grade I listed building whose history and architecture spans more than nine centuries. The restoration of the western arm is a priority project identified by the last Quinquennial Inspection - a professional five yearly inspection, carried out by the Surveyor of the Fabric, that looks into the condition of the building and its state of repair. Window traceries and cills in this arm of the Cloisters are in an extremely poor condition and require extensive masonry repair. All the glasswork, both lead and ferramenta, is to be cleaned and repaired, and the rainwater goods, such as guttering and downpipes, must be replaced to efficiently take water away from the ancient stonework. Wall monuments require cleaning and light conservation and finally a new permanent gateway will replace the temporary gate into the cloister garden known as ‘Paradise’, including a new stone ramp to replace the existing and unsightly metal one.

Throughout this project, it has been a priority to retain as much of the original materials as possible, resorting to replacing only where deemed absolutely necessary. For this purpose detailed surveys were done in advance of the contractors, Chichester Stoneworks Ltd., arriving on site. The work will take approximately 12-14 weeks and the estimated cost is expected to be £293,000. Thanks to the generous contributions made by supporters of Chichester Cathedral Restoration & Development Trust and partnership funding from the World War One Centenary Cathedrals Repair Fund, The Headley Trust and The Hans and Julia Rausing Trust on behalf of Helen, Lady Broughton, the project is now under way. Thank you to all those who donated to safeguard this unique part of Chichester’s heritage.

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