Built in the 15th century the Cloister comprises three covered passageways on the south side of the Cathedral. The eastern and western arms provide access to the Cathedral at the east end of the south quire aisle and the east end of the nave respectively, with the southern arm linking the two. This creates an enclosure (Cloister Garth) around the south transept known as the 'Paradise' garden. With five public entrances, the Cloister is a busy thoroughfare used daily by clergy, lay staff, worshippers and visitors for over 600 years. The Cathedral café, shop and offices are all accessed via the southern arm.
The western arm was the last remaining arm in need of restoration, with the southern and eastern arms having been restored in the last 20 years. The window traceries and cills were in extremely poor condition, guttering needed to be replaced, pointing had deteriorated significantly in many areas, and the gateway into Paradise (having been 'temporarily' adapted some thirty years ago) required making good.
In 2017, a team of craftsmen and conservators worked painstakingly for four months in the busy period leading up to advent. This project provided a unique opportunity for visitors to see skilled restoration and conservation in progress at ground level, generating interest from a wide audience. Masonry was repaired and replaced, glazing was comprehensively refurbished, pointing was removed and replaced, defective rainwater goods were renewed in cast iron and a new stone gateway, iron gate and access ramp installed which now provides a more suitable and permanent entrance into 'Paradise'.
This project was enabled through the generous support of the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repair Fund, The Hans and Julia Rausing Trust (on behalf of Helen, Lady Broughton), The Headley Trust, The R H Scholes Trust and The Arts Society Chichester (formerly Chichester NADFAS).