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Canterbury Cathedral to kick-start £24million overhaul

Canterbury Cathedral has secured Lottery funding towards a £25 million overhaul of the nave roof and a new visitor centre at Christ Church Gate.

Cathedral bosses are celebrating a £14 million cash injection from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

They will add this to £11 million raised through the Canterbury Cathedral Trust from private donations and charitable sources.

Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral

The windfall will allow them to kick-start a scheme of major changes including vital replacement of the leaking nave roof.

Subject to planning permission, Cathedral authorities also plan a new welcome centre at the site next to Christ Church Gate which was formerly occupied by a cafe.

The Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, the Very Revd Dr Robert Willis said: “This is without doubt a very exciting time for the Cathedral.

“One million people come to this Cathedral every year as worshippers, visitors and pilgrims and we want further to enhance the experience for them as well as to reach out to those communities with whom we would like to share the richness of the heritage we have in this magnificent place.”

Plans for the new welcome centre at Christ Church Gate
Plans for the new welcome centre at Christ Church Gate

Cash will also be spent on improved landscaping to the west front of the Cathedral to make access easier for visitors.

Restoration work is to be carried out to the main entrance to the Cathedral from the city, the Christ Church Gate.

More displays from the Cathedral’s historic collections are to be created and a new handheld, multimedia guide to help visitors learn more about the Cathedral’s rich history is to be developed.

An extensive programme of community activities is also being scheduled which aims improve the experience of existing visitors and attract new ones.

Canterbury is the best place to live in Kent, according to one survey
Canterbury is the best place to live in Kent, according to one survey

This, say Cathedral bosses, will also help them reach out to new audiences by taking the Cathedral’s heritage out into the community and by developing online access to the collections.

A new Pilgrim’s Pass is also to be introduced giving free access to the Cathedral for all those who live, work and study in Canterbury, and all who worship in East Kent.

The Very Revd Dr Willis added: “We are naturally delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has supported our application for a grant and we are enormously grateful to those very generous individuals from around the world who have placed their faith and trust in us so that together we may continue to cherish this holy place for future generations.”

An aerial view Cathedral
An aerial view Cathedral

The Cathedral has been developing its application for HLF funding over the last two years.

Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF South East, said: “A landmark of worship, architecture and social history, Canterbury Cathedral is an extraordinary example of our collective heritage and we’re delighted that money raised by National Lottery players will enable it to take this major step on its journey.

“Alongside vital repairs and the creation of a Welcome Centre, this investment will enable free access for those who live, work and study in Canterbury, reach out to new visitors and ensure the Cathedral’s bright future as an integral part of the community.”

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