Frank and his wife visited every Anglican cathedral in England and compiled a piece of prose or poem that recorded his visit. In his will, he requested that each Cathedral receive £4,000 and should be sent a copy of his written essay to be disseminated as appropriate. Here is Frank’s work.
Chester (Visited 1993)
by Frank Buzzard
Chester is the most unspoilt city I know.
Climb up Eastgate and view the architectural shops in Rows, black and white above each other; unique and quaint they bring a pleasure to shopping that many modernised city centres have lost. Walk Southwards on top of the ancient wall, passing Roman ruins and the beautiful River Dee sweeping expansively under its shapely bridges. Past the castle and ‘Roodee’ which embraces Chester racecourse. Over the railway the old wall swings high above more water as the canal cuts through sandstone beside Northgate. Then at last, after nearly an hour of wall walking the reddish glowing cathedral presents its coy view, for God’s building does not dominate this city with a massive tower or sky piercing steeple. Its proportions of height, length and width are modest by cathedral yardsticks.
Although it had been a sun speckled morning a chilly early Spring wind had kept us cool and we were happy to get inside the cosy Refectory where the accoutrements of eating still present the noises and smells that thirteenth Century Benedictine monks knew. After curry and orange juice, my curiosity was aroused by the pulpit from which “Readings” were made during meals. The steps went round the corner and up alright but it seemed to go too high, – it looked a hazardous step down for the monk doing the reading!
A table near the counter advertised ‘Sport n talk’ weekends.
Prayers and Gymnasium
Climbing and Contemplation
In 1092 Benedictine monks followed their constitutional rules here for the first time when these buildings were begun. Now exactly 900 years later the Dean and Chapter are considering a new “Draft set” of Rules for the Cathedral Council.
An organ recital held up our ‘Look around’ so while listening I sat and meditated; on the aisle where the pinkish floor stones had to been worn to a noticeable concave curve – the South windows with their abstract lines of darting colour – the unusual mosaic North wall – Jesus on the Cross above the screen.
Perhaps because of a good attendance, the organist exceeded his allotted time and it was well into the afternoon before I examined the 1872 Carillon clock – conveniently at floor level, it was a well oiled mass of large wheels and cogs.
In Saint Erasmus’ chapel were more mosaics behind the altar; a peaceful pretty spot to rest and pray.
Mosaic work is very prominent in this cathedral. A beautiful “Last Supper” stands behind the High Altar, done by Antonio Salviati.
Saint Werburgh’s shrine was unseeable as there was no way through the Lady Chapel so I enjoyed the four small ones in the South Transept. My old guide book (I first came here in the 1960’s) says the Cheshire Regiment flags in the Saint Nicholas and the Saint Leonard chapel covered the coffin of General Wolfe after the Battle of Quebec in 1759. They have been moved. Perhaps they were the tattered thread bear colours hanging in the adjacent chapel. Anyway, I thought of the brave General who recited Gray’s Elegy as he sailed up the Saint Lawrence river to his final battle; he turned to his officers and said “I would rather have written that poem than take Quebec”.
Misericords and choir stalls date from 1380. Mellowed carving of such antiquity is a great source of inspiration.
The Chapter House had books in cases with a ledge on top where you could stand and study. A monk, Ranulf Higden, wrote his Polychronicon here in about 1299; it became a well known history book of the time. It is still in the cathedral and facsimile sheets are in a case together with a small portion (about 2 inches square) of brownish red woollen cloth which enclosed his body when it was buried in the South choir Aisle.
Another interesting item is a copy of the original ‘Messiah’ written by Handel in 1868. It shows very little alteration or crossing out and has scribbled comments on how it should be played.
From the Chapter House we enter the cloisters where there are 14th Century grave slabs etched with crosses of Glory; on one the cross has a stick which pierces a coiled snake; Christ’s victory over evil.
I looked up the dark stairs where monks descended for night services. They must have spent hours perambulating these cloisters staring at the statues and walls acquiring an intimate knowledge of all carvings. I can imagine them contemplating a particular piece, wrestling spiritual insight from it, then wandering to the still waters surrounded by magnolia and exotic coloured camellias. Truly a place for the Holy Spirit to weave its mystical fragrance.
(Transcribed ad verbatim from the original piece, written on a typewriter.)
Posted by: Kevin Baxter
Monday 23 October 2023
I am delighted to announce that Revd Richard Walker will be taking up a new post of Bishop’s Adviser for Diocesan Discernment of Ordained Ministry, and Residentiary Canon Diocesan here at Chester Cathedral in the new year.
As part of the Diocesan Ministry Team, Richard will be working with those people exploring a call to ordained ministry, as well as working with the rest of the team on encouraging the calling of all God’s people into a wide variety of service and ministry.
Bishop Sam, who chairs the Committee for Ministry in the diocese, says “I am very much looking forward to Richard joining us in the crucial tasks of encouraging and resourcing discernment for ordained ministry across the diocese. Richard will bring both experience and passion to the role, and will join us at a significant time as we build and develop the Ministry team.”
Richard’s appointment demonstrates a growing partnership between the Cathedral and Diocese. Chester Cathedral will offer Richard a community to which he can belong and with which he will pray and worship. As a Residentiary Canon, he will share in all of the Cathedral’s leadership and ministry. We particularly look forward to his contribution here as someone who will enable the whole people of God to grow in their Christian discipleship.
Posted by: Kevin Baxter
Sunday 15 October 2023
I cannot begin to understand how the parents of babies murdered and harmed by a hospital nurse must be feeling as the details of Lucy Letby’s wicked acts have been discussed in the courts and mass media. I cannot begin to understand how colleagues in the caring professions, including the doctors who tried to stop her, must be feeling now that the truth of what she did has been exposed so publicly. I do share in the feelings of my neighbours in Chester and our region who are served by the Countess of Chester Hospital. This includes holding the vast majority of doctors, nurses, staff and volunteers who work there in high appreciation and huge esteem; being saddened that the reputation of the hospital they serve in is sullied by the acts of this one person and its vulnerability to her duplicitousness; and shame that this local community contributed to the formation of someone who could do such things.
As a representative of the Church of England I am in no position to judge an institution or its leaders. We too have experienced the destructive impact of harmful behaviours committed by trusted individuals. And we too have experienced leadership that has in the past let this happen either through naivety or the failure to take safeguarding of undefended people seriously. We are learning that this is a complacency that costs lives and that must be guarded against.
I am pleased that Samantha Dixon, our MP, has called for a full independent and public inquiry into what took place. We all have lessons to learn.
Above all I want to uphold the parents and families who will grieve their lost babies for a lifetime in any way I can and in my prayers. I also want to demonstrate my support for those who bravely held Lucy Letby to account, even when their employers challenged back, and to hold in my prayers every single person who works at the Countess of Chester genuinely wanting to be an agent of healing to the sick and suffering amongst us.
Posted by: Kevin Baxter
Thursday 24 August 2023
A partnership between Barclays Bank plc, Cheshire West and Chester Council and Chester Cathedral will see a major piece of the Cathedral’s architectural heritage return into the Cathedral’s care during the summer/autumn of 2023.
In 2021 the Cathedral initiated discussions with Barclays Bank and the local authority to investigate bringing the Cathedral corner currently occupied by the bank back into its care.
Despite its prominent location on St Werburgh Street, Chester Cathedral is difficult for city visitors and tourists to identify, with the Northgate frontage of the sandstone building strongly branded as Barclays Bank – the face of the building which faces Town Hall Square.
Not wishing to leave the city, Barclays Bank worked closely with the Cathedral and Cheshire West and Chester Council to identify new locations for the bank’s revitalised high-street banking offer. These plans are now in place, with Barclays relocating to the Forum on Northgate Street and a second site in Abbey Square.
Dean of Chester, the Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford notes “I’m delighted that the Board of Barclays Bank were so receptive to the idea of returning such an important element of the Cathedral’s fabric back into our care, and without any loss to the city – of service or employment.”
Redevelopment of the wing will be the focus of an £11m project at today’s prices – Project Discovery – which will seek to reconnect the Cathedral with the city centre and its communities, revealing the building and its contents to new and wider audiences and re-affirming it’s part in city life.
Joe Appleton, Customer Care Director for Barclays said: “By working collaboratively with Cheshire West and Chester Council and the Cathedral, Barclays has decided to re-locate from St Werburgh Street to two new prominent sites in the city centre that will continue to support customers with their banking needs whilst growing our local community presence.
“Barclays have operated in Chester for many years and as our customer needs evolve, it gives us the opportunity to reshape our physical branch offering to focus more on what our customers need today and in the future.
“No immediate action is required by Barclays customers and we will be in touch as soon as more details are available.”
Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “Chester Cathedral presents not only spectacular architecture but also forms part of the very history of the city that continues to place us on the world map.
“This move and huge investment into the city is the latest example of how Chester continues to build confidence and maintain its position as both a highly desirable area for residents and visitors alike. The Council is pleased to have played an important part in Barclays relocation to a prominent location that will help enliven Town Hall Square since the closure of the Forum shopping centre. I’d like to wish the best of success to both the Cathedral as it starts on its Project Discovery and to Barclays Bank as it moves to its new home.”
Work on Project Discovery is intended to commence in autumn 2023, and be substantially complete in 2028. Updates will be available on chestercathedral.com
Posted by: Kevin Baxter
Tuesday 30 May 2023
A film of a dance theatre performance re-telling the story of St Francis and St Clare in the context of climate change is to be screened at Chester Cathedral alongside Luke Jerram’s ‘Gaia’ on Sunday 26 February at 7.15pm.
The performance tells the story of two children worried about climate change who ask St Francis and St Clare for help inspiring people to address our environmental emergency and to save the planet. All Creation Waits is the story which follows, imagining a contemporary Francis and Clare, coming to terms with the need to leave their existing lives and join the movement for change. It is the story of a growing friendship between Clare, a symbol of the earth herself, wounded and desecrated, and Francis, who is first disturbed by Clare’s arrival before being ultimately transformed through their relationship.
The film was created by Claire Henderson Davis, Fraser Paterson and Ian Bysh, and features a number people from the Chester Cathedral community; Ian Bysh, Counter Tenor Lay Clerk, plays St Francis, and Lydia and Will Evans, treble and bass from the Cathedral Choir, play the children. The script is by the poet, priest and theologian Malcolm Guite, with a soundtrack by Gary Lloyd.
Originally a live performance, the piece had to be filmed due to the Covid pandemic.
Claire Henderson Davis says “The project was fraught with disaster. My dance partner had to be replaced unexpectedly at short notice a month before the premiere at Salford Cathedral in January 2020. Our tour was then cancelled because of the pandemic. Eventually, we decided to turn the piece from a live performance into a film in order to save the work. A tour of Cathedrals was arranged to launch the film coinciding with COP26.
A few days before the tour began, I came down with pneumonia and was unable to attend any but the first screening, which had taken place a few weeks earlier at Lichfield Cathedral. This event feels, therefore, like the end of a long, hard road but also a celebration of having come through it.”
The screening of All Creation Waits will take place on Sunday 26 February at 7.15pm, and will be followed by a discussion.
Tickets are free of charge and may be booked at chestercathedral.ticketsolve.com (a valid ticket for the Cathedral’s ‘Gaia by Night’ event is also required (£5 per person) which may also be purchased at chestercathedral.ticketsolve.com).
Posted by: Kevin Baxter
Saturday 18 February 2023
Chester Cathedral has become the first cathedral in the north of England to install solar panels on its ancient monastic building.
Roof-mounted solar panels have been installed on several of the South Transept and Nave roofs of the Grade I listed Cathedral over the summer and started producing and consuming their own electricity last year. The 206 solar panels generate 22-25% of the total energy consumption of the building and contribute not only to the Church of England’s aim to be Net Zero by 2030, but to the ever-rising cost of energy required to operate large historic sites like Chester Cathedral, which has increased by 40% in the past two years.
Chester joins the cathedrals of Gloucester and Salisbury in installing solar panels to reduce the amount of carbon generated on site. However, the panels at Chester use a unique non-interventive design which means they sit on the historic roofs rather than being fixed to them. The entire scheme from inception to commissioning was delivered by Nantwich based Carbon Control Limited, working closely with Donald Insall Associates, Chester Cathedral’s historic buildings consultants, who secured planning and related approvals for the scheme. Carbon Control engaged Sunfixings, a specialist UK-based manufacturer of solar panel mounting systems to design and manufacture the bespoke mounting system, so as not to compromise the lead and copper roof covers. Carbon Control overcame the challenges of installing solar panels on an historic building, including:
Arranging for equipment to be craned onto the Cathedral roof;
Working to strict listed building requirements for the Grade I listed medieval church; and
Carefully considering their placement to maximise the amount of electricity able to be produced
Solar Pv: meaning ‘solar photovoltaic’. Pv materials convert sunlight into electrical energy which can then be used in buildings like Chester Cathedral. kWh: meaning ‘kilowatt per hour’. The unit we use to measure energy.
Solar Pv: meaning ‘solar photovoltaic’. Pv materials convert sunlight into electrical energy which can then be used in buildings like Chester Cathedral.
kWh: meaning ‘kilowatt per hour’. The unit we use to measure energy.
Dean of Chester, the Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford says
“Chester Cathedral is the mother church of the Diocese of Chester and is determined to be responsible and set a good example. For us, sustainability includes ensuring that we are doing everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint and lessen our negative impact on our planet, and reduced costs mean we can fund the essential work carried out on our magnificent Cathedral. The installation of solar panels on the roof will achieve both aims, in reducing the amount of fossil fuels burnt to power our building, and in the longer-term reducing the cost required to provide this fuel.”
Andrew Fletcher, Managing Director of Carbon Control, says
“Despite being an extremely challenging project in terms of design and construction, we are delighted to have successfully delivered this 50kWp solar Pv project at Chester Cathedral. Our large project team worked tirelessly to meet the challenges created by not being able to mechanically fix to the roof structures. As the UK battles to combat the current energy cost crisis, we are extremely proud to have assisted the cathedral in this challenge by enabling them to now generate 25% of their annual electrical demand on site. Through the leadership shown by the Cathedral we are confident other historic buildings will seek to follow their example.”
As they are part of the Cathedral fabric, the solar panels received a joint blessing by the Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford and the Bishop of Chester, Mark Tanner, on Friday 27 January.
Chester Cathedral are grateful for the generous contribution from the Kenneth Russell-Hardy Will Trust which facilitated the solar panels installation.
Posted by: Kevin Baxter
Friday 17 February 2023
Chester Cathedral celebrates the start of the first whole-building maintenance programme with huge playful artwork.
Chester Cathedral are marking the start of their first whole building maintenance programme in over 100 years with a huge, illustrated artwork depicting the exciting heritage work which is taking place and represented the different types of heritage on show in their work.
Starting later this year, the Works Department at Chester Cathedral will be carrying out maintenance of the exterior stonework on the south side of the building. As the first phase in a multi-year project, work taking place includes full checks on each section of the building, raking out and repointing and replacing masonry where required and will ensure that the friable Cheshire red sandstone that the building is made of will remain intact for years to come.
The scaffolding wrap was designed by Chester’s own Graham Boyd – who also created the staircase artwork for Chester’s New Market car park – and executed by the Cathedral working with Leftfield Marketing. On it, visitors get to see a fabricated ‘x-ray’ view behind the scenes of the work taking place. They can spot the welcoming Dean and Bishop of Chester, stonemasons at work, choristers practising for services and concerts, a tour taking place, cheeky characters, and many more.
Dean of Chester, the Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford says “This exciting project also addresses the ever-increasing need for heritage skills training, particularly in the north west of England. With the nearest skills training centre for stonemasonry located in York – and few opportunities to develop other types of skills such as heritage carpentry, joinery, or conservation in the UK – Chester Cathedral is leading heritage skills training in this part of the country. The maintenance work starting on the south side of the Nave is an exciting opportunity for the public to ‘see’ and hear more of the essential work being done at Chester.”
Chester Cathedral’s Works Department – the in-house team of heritage professionals carrying out this essential maintenance work – is made up of the Clerk of Works, two stonemasons, a conservator, a heritage conservation operative, and a collections manager. Together, they are the first in-house works team of the Cathedral for 100 years and carry out essential maintenance works to the Grade I listed building, host exciting events like the recent Heritage Discovery Day in October 2022, and inform on best practice in the sector. Two members of the Works Department are graciously funded by the Hamish Ogston Foundation via the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship.
The work starting on the south side of the building this year will provide opportunities for further training and engagement and – with the scaffolding wrap erected – entertainment and enjoyment for visitors to Chester.
Posted by: Kevin Baxter
Monday 16 January 2023
The Dean of Chester, the Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford has issued a video statement as the National report on Church of England’s past cases review is published. You may watch the statement here, or read the statement below.
I have served the church in a number of places and recognize that these failings are widely shared, but when I came to Chester from Leicester four years ago I learned that there is more to do here in order to address the culture that has allowed abuse to occur.
I am encouraged that our new leadership that has started to address this and that the enlarged Diocesan Safeguarding Team has growing capacity.
The historical interrelationship between Cathedral and Diocese is rightly criticised in the PCR2 report. This is improving as our safeguarding culture improves. I am pleased to see the growth of trust and increased transparency that can only improve our safeguarding practice, but there is still a long way to go.
There has been a cost to this. People have left who do not like the new safeguarding culture. That is part of the price. But the goal is to become the safest place for children and other vulnerable people that we can be. This is how we respond to the love Jesus Christ had for humankind, and especially for those who live most on the margins.
I hope the new culture is visible now. We are committed to working towards it becoming clearer and clearer until there is no doubt in anyone’s mind of what it means for us to be a safe and secure church for all.”
Posted by: Kevin Baxter
Wednesday 5 October 2022
All members of the Cathedral Roll are invited to this year’s Forum which will take place in the Refectory on Tuesday 27 September at 7pm
The following elections will be held at the meeting: Election for two lay members of Cathedral Council Election for a lay member of Chester Deanery Synod Election for a Lay Chair of the Cathedral Forum
If you wish to stand for nomination to any of these seats, please contact the Dean’s Office for the nomination pack:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 01244 500978
Due to the upcoming change to the Cathedral’s Constitution and Statutes, Chapter propose that the currently elected members of Chapter remain in post until such time as Chapter is reconstituted this autumn.
The following documents are available to download:
2022 Council Nomination Form – click here to download.
2022 Deanery Synod Nomination Form – click here to download.
2022 Lay Chair of the Forum – click here to download.
2022 Nominations Pack (Council) – click here to download.
Posted by: Kevin Baxter
Tuesday 6 September 2022
This week, Chester Cathedral will undertake a significant step towards reducing its carbon footprint by installing roof-mounted solar panels to the ancient monastic building.
The Church of England, in recognising the climate emergency called on all parts of the Church to become net zero carbon by 2030. The solar panels is one part of the Cathedral’s activity towards becoming net zero carbon.
The solar panels themselves will be in three sections on the Cathedral roof and will be able to provide a significant portion of the electricity required to run the site, generating a reduction of approximately 12.39 tCO2 each year.
Work to install the solar panels began this morning and will continue throughout the month.
Follow the project’s progress on our official Twitter account here.
Posted by: Kevin Baxter
Thursday 7 July 2022
The partnership between the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship and the Hamish Ogston Foundation is essential for securing the future of English cathedrals and the craftspeople who care for them
The Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) and the Hamish Ogston Foundation are delighted to announce the latest round of funding to support heritage craft training through the CWF, which will be essential for ensuring our historic buildings remain open for future generations.
The Hamish Ogston Foundation will be awarding £2.3 million over a three-year period, from 1 September 2022 to 31 August 2025; this grant will fund the employment and training of a total of twenty-nine stonemasons, carpenters and joiners and one electrician across the ten CWF cathedrals during that time. The grant forms part of a five-year partnership project between the Hamish Ogston Foundation and CWF, in which the Hamish Ogston Foundation is contributing £3.5 million to expand heritage craft training and maintain the flow of skilled craftspeople at English cathedrals despite the devastating impact of Covid-19.
Not only is this funding essential for ensuring that our cathedrals stay in the best possible condition for years to come, but it will also enable heritage skills to be passed from one generation to the next through the CWF’s wide-ranging and comprehensive training programme. The trainees will have the unique opportunity to learn their craft from the very best heritage professionals in cathedrals across the country, all whilst helping to conserve and maintain these magnificent buildings.
The CWF’s Executive Director, Frances Cambrook, said:
“The funding and support we have received from the Hamish Ogston Foundation over the last two years has enabled our cathedral craft training scheme to withstand the shock of the pandemic. With this new round of funding from the Hamish Ogston Foundation cathedrals will be able to plan ahead and recruit new craftspeople for at least the next three years. We are incredibly grateful for this support from the Hamish Ogston Foundation and the opportunity it gives our cathedrals to continue to develop the specialist craft and conservation skills they need.”
Robert Bargery from the Hamish Ogston Foundation said:
“We are delighted to continue working with CWF to help ensure that England’s finest buildings are properly conserved for future generations. Our cathedrals may look immortal but they require constant care and that can only be delivered if we maintain a flow of people with the necessary craft skills.”
Jordan Cliffe from Canterbury Cathedral, who will shortly complete the first year of his CWF Foundation degree course, said:
“The best part of the CWF degree programme is visiting different cathedrals and experiencing how differently the workshops operate. This helps to apply new techniques to our own workplace. This experience is only available to me due to the funding opportunities provided by the Hamish Ogston Foundation.”
Chester Cathedral is getting ready to welcome a hard-hitting exhibition of images taken from the fifty-year career of renowned late photojournalist, Tom Stoddart. ‘Extraordinary Women: Images of Courage, Endurance, and Defiance’ celebrates the strong will of women throughout the world, showing them living in times of war, poverty and hardship. and will be exhibited in the Cathedral between Thursday 9 June and Monday 11 July.
Stoddart’s incredible long-spanning career took him all over the world and he captured countless pivotal moments in modern history: from the war in Lebanon (during which he accompanied celebrated Sunday Times foreign correspondent Marie Colvin), the fall of the Berlin Wall and covering the HIV/AIDs pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa. The exhibition of Extraordinary Women lifts images curated for Stoddart’s final book of the same title and depicts the real women upholding communities wherever he travelled.
The Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford, Dean of Chester, says:“We are delighted to welcome Extraordinary Women: Images of Courage, Endurance, and Defiance to Chester Cathedral this summer. The work of Stoddart is challenging, thought-provoking, and moving: all qualities present in our own Cathedral church. We are thrilled to be able to provide a space for people to encounter these images, particularly in this Platinum Jubilee year.”
The exhibition brings with it an exciting partnership between Chester Cathedral and Chester Women’s Aid. Angela Benson, Chair of Chester Women’s Aid, says:
“Chester Women’s Aid (CWA) are honoured to partner with Chester Cathedral for the Extraordinary Women exhibition. Both the artist Tom Stoddart and CWA share the desire to celebrate and make visible the courage, endurance, strength and defiance of women in hardship. We believe in the right of all women to live free from fear and abuse. This thought provoking and inspiring exhibition demonstrates Chester Cathedral’s position as a cultural and social cornerstone of our community, and we are proud to support them in this event.”
Sharon Price, co-founder of Photo North and curator of the exhibition, says:
“Tom was a guiding light towards the truth and the good for many, it was an honour to be personally asked by Tom to curate this exceptional body of work for Chester Cathedral and to be able to bring it to the people of Chester.”
Visitors to Chester Cathedral can experience ‘Extraordinary Women’ between Thursday 9 June and Monday 11 July. The Cathedral is open 10am – 5pm Monday to Saturday and 12 noon to 5pm Sundays. When travelling a long distance specifically for the exhibition, please check with the Cathedral website to ensure the Cathedral is open.
Posted by: Kevin Baxter
Thursday 12 May 2022
This Saturday, 26 March, four bell ringing teams from as far as Exeter and Chilcompton will converge upon Chester Cathedral to take part in an eliminator for the National 12-bell Striking Contest for the Taylor Trophy.
Teams from Bristol, Cambridge, Chilcompton and Exeter will join Chester Cathedral’s own bell team to compete for a place in the competition final, which will take place in Guildford in June 2022.
Chester Cathedral Bell Team Captain, Paul Hunter, notes “The Eliminator is a prestigious event and it coming to Chester demonstrates how far the bell team and Addleshaw Tower has improved over the past few years. We’re very proud to host the Eliminator, and hope we do well!”
Each of the five competing teams will play a thirty-minute peal of ringing between 11.30am and 2.30pm. The Eliminator will take place in the Addleshaw Tower, the Cathedral’s free-standing bell tower. It was designed by the eminent twentieth century architect George Pace, and built to house the Cathedral bells. The tower is a designated Grade II listed building, and was the first free-standing bell tower to be built by an English cathedral since the fifteenth century.
Posted by: Kevin Baxter
Wednesday 23 March 2022
Thirty-four heritage organisations in the North will benefit from £3.7m this Christmas thanks to the government’s unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage.
Those set to receive grants include:
Chester Cathedral, Chester – £171,200
Chester Cathedral is an architectural gem founded over 1,000 years ago as a Benedictine Monastery. Today it is the largest free and accessible visitor attraction in Chester. The grant will go towards operational costs, increasing the visitor experience and furthering its outdoor hospitality offering.
Hoghton Tower Preservation Trust, Lancashire – £116,500
Iconic heritage site Hoghton Tower, which lies between Blackburn and Preston, is a source of pride for the local community, many of whom are trained volunteers. The fortified hilltop manor house, rebuilt by Sir Thomas Hoghton in the 1560’s will receive an award for staff costs to support plans for a fully opened house and garden.
Stainmore Railway Company, Kirkby, Cumbria – £16,000
Stainmore Railway Company looks after one of the foremost collections in the UK of items associated with the North Eastern Railway (NER) and London & North Eastern Railway (LNER). The grant will enable the organisation to focus on developing its partnership working with local organisations and continue to build income generation opportunities, supporting both them and surrounding businesses.
Penistone Cinema Organ Trust – £12,500
The Trust maintains and presents concerts on historic cinema organs at the Penistone Paramount cinema and The Astoria Centre, Barnsley. They have also worked on many other organ restorations across the UK. The grant will cover rent and overhead costs as well as organ maintenance, which will be carried out by volunteers.
Bidston Observatory Artistic Research Centre, Prenton near Liverpool – CRF3 £27,200
Bidston Observatory was built in 1866 by George Fosbery Lyster to measure time. For 135 years it carried out specialist research of ground-breaking importance across the fields of astronomy, meteorology, seismography and oceanography. The Grade-II listed landmark is a key component of Liverpool’s long history of maritime science and its presence on Wirral’s skyline is iconic. The grant will cover essential running costs and staffing.
Manchester Histories – £42,200
Manchester Histories work is important to the local community as it reveals the often hidden histories & heritage of people. Their work on commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre was a local story but was told to national and international audiences. The Culture Recovery Fund award will enable them to continue their work with communities.
Nearly 140 heritage organisations in England will benefit from £15.5 million this Christmas thanks to the government’s unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage.
This winter sites like Alexandra Park and Palace and The British Music Experience in Liverpool will receive a share of £14.8 million in continuity support grants as part of this next round of funding. Almost £1 million in emergency grants will also be awarded to 12 Heritage organisations struggling to survive, providing them with a financial lifeline.
A total of £138 million has been awarded to heritage organisations from the three rounds of the government’s £2 billion Culture Recovery Fund support package made available for arts, culture and heritage organisations during the pandemic. This third round of grants are part of the additional £300 million announced by the Chancellor at March’s Budget.
Heritage Minister Nigel Huddleston said:
“I’m delighted that this vital funding from our unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund is giving so many brilliant heritage organisations a helping hand this winter. I want everyone to enjoy what our fascinating and diverse heritage has to offer and with this money we’re safeguarding these organisations for generations to come.”
The Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford, Dean of Chester said:
“Chester Cathedral is delighted to have received a grant of vital financial support from DCMS’ Continuity Support stream from the Culture Recovery Fund. Without DCMS’ continued support we would be in a much bleaker situation. The CRF funding has ensured not only that our magnificent building and heritage continue to be available to the public, but our Cathedral can continue to fulfil its mission with energy and enthusiasm. This funding has given us the opportunity to reimagine how we do things and ensure that we remain a relevant, exciting organisation and fulfil our goals to be a place of Discovery, Encounter, and Faith.”
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“This latest round of the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage provides a welcome Christmas boost for Heritage organisations. With the situation changing daily, the funding will be crucial in helping heritage sites navigate their seasonal activities ensuring the safety of their visitors and their communities. The grants will also support organisations in implementing business plans as they work round the challenges for the coming year, helping financial sustainability and driving tourism so that we can look to a bright future for our heritage sector.”
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive, Historic England said:
“We are delighted that the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage grants continue to keep so many heritage organisations going. From major historic buildings to small community organisations promoting local heritage – all deserve this support, to continue to open up to everyone the opportunities that our shared history creates.”
Investing in heritage will not only support Covid19 economic recovery but also improve people’s lives and make communities better places to live, creating jobs, driving tourism and improving wellbeing.
The Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage is administered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, in partnership with Historic England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Posted by: Kevin Baxter
Friday 17 December 2021
Christmas shoppers will be able to protect themselves and their families ahead of the festive season by walking into a new pop-up vaccination clinic at Chester Cathedral, adjacent to the Christmas markets, from December 15 – 21.
Military personnel will be supporting NHS staff at the clinic – operated by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust – with shoppers eligible for a first, second or booster dose able to simply walk into the Cathedral, on St Werburgh Street, to get a Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccination at the following times:
Clare Watson, Accountable Officer of NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured the support of military personnel for a week-long pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Chester Cathedral. The team will be delivering hundreds of vaccinations every day so please feel free to pop in if you’re eligible for a first, second or booster dose.
“If you are unable to attend a walk-in clinic, you can arrange your vaccination appointments via the National Booking Service, by calling 119 or by responding to an invitation from your local NHS service.”
The Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford, Dean of Chester Cathedral said: “One year ago, we found ourselves closing the Cathedral doors as England went into lockdown. As we re-opened in April of this year, we were pleased to assist Cheshire fight the pandemic by hosting a testing centre for Cestrians, and now, at our busiest time of year, we are delighted to help our community once again by hosting this pop-up vaccination clinic at the heart of the city.”
Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “We’re really pleased to play our part with our partners to hold this week-long clinic at the Cathedral. It’s never been more important for us all to look after each other, and getting your vaccine or booster is the best defence we have as a community against COVID-19. This clinic is all about making it easy for people to pop in and get it done so please make the most of that.”
Vaccination is clinically-proven to reduce your risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 and your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.
Posted by: Kevin Baxter
Monday 13 December 2021
Hear about Chester’s One City Plan at public drop-in sessions taking place on Friday, 3 December, 10am to 8pm, and Saturday, 4 December, 10am to 7pm at the Co-llective Coworking Hub in The Forum Shopping Centre.
Earlier this year co-leads of Good for Nothing Chester (GFN), Uná Meehan and Holly Nelson, launched a programme of consultations engaging with a diverse range of city users including residents, businesses and key stakeholders, to revisit and review the plan. The consultation collated insights and themes from those who took part, which will now be taken forwards by the Council, and inform the One City Plan.
Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth, Economy & Regeneration said: “The One City Plan is a unifying document, drawing together the hopes and ambitions of a broad range of people and organisations in our city.
“Re-visiting this 15-year strategy at its mid-point using new techniques to work with different people in the city has enriched this document and ensured it is relevant for the times we live in.
No one predicted a global pandemic and combined with the impact on the high street of changing shopping and leisure trends, and the climate emergency, we face many new challenges. Please come along to one of the drop-in days, to learn about the ideas for our city so that we can face the future together.”
Uná Meehan, Good for Nothing Chester said: “We’re really pleased with the passion, insights and feedback this process has unearthed. Although this began as a community consultation, the scope of work increased in response to the enthusiasm shown by participants and those invested in Chester’s future success.”
GFN fed back to the Council in June, and have since delivered workshops to Chester Growth Partnership, Council officers and Councillors for the city of Chester. Uná added: “Having delivered these workshops, we now can’t wait to share the findings with the wider public – this consultation was about giving the people of Chester a voice, and we hope we’ve done them proud. Come and see for yourself.”
Those who come along will have the opportunity to view the discoveries of Good for Nothing’s consultation and have their say on the recommendations. This is an opportunity to view the raw data and the emerging themes that will help Chester, not just over the next 15 years, but to 2050 and beyond.
The drop-in sessions are being hosted by Good for Nothing Chester and Ludicology in partnership with Chester Growth Partnership and Cheshire West and Chester Council, who will be on hand to answer any questions.
For more information on the One City Plan please visit chestergrowth.co.uk
Posted by: Kevin Baxter
Friday 26 November 2021
Chester Cathedral is one of the heritage sites across England to receive a financial boost today, Saturday 16 October, thanks to the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
Administered on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) by Historic England, 142 sites will receive support, bolstering local economies and supporting jobs across the country.
Money from the government’s £2 billion Culture Recovery Fund is intended to open up heritage and the benefits it brings to everyone, helping to level up and improve life and opportunities for people in places that need it most.
Abbey Gateway – the grand entrance to Abbey Square and part of the historic Abbey site – will be undergoing an intense programme of long-overdue conservation and maintenance, including addressing areas of deterioration, preventing the effects of weather on the exposed masonry, and repairing decayed aspects of fabric. The project will also include training opportunities for the Cathedral’s Works Department as they work with contractors to revitalise the building.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said:
“From local churches to ancient buildings and landscapes, the UK’s unique heritage makes our towns, cities and villages stronger, more vibrant and helps bring communities together.
“This latest funding – £35 million from our unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund – will help protect sites including Jane Austen’s House and Hampton Court Palace for future generations and help them build back better from the pandemic.”
Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive, said:
“Funding from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund is hugely welcome at a time when the people and organisations who look after our vast and varied array of heritage urgently need support to carry out essential repairs. Heritage is a fragile eco-system, with an amazing cast of characters who keep our historic places alive, with specialist skills that take time to learn and experience to perfect. These grants will protect their livelihoods, as they use their expertise to help our heritage survive.”
The Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford, Dean of Chester Cathedral, said:
“Abbey Gateway is an important part of both the Chester Cathedral site and the visible heritage of the City of Chester. Its imposing structure provides not only the main vehicular and pedestrian access to the Cathedral estate but is also an on-street reminder of the Cathedral’s pre-Reformation Abbey status. Indeed, its prominent position on site – as well as the sheer scale of the project – has meant a large conservation project has not been possible in recent years. We are therefore immensely pleased to receive this funding from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund to enable this project to address the needs of the building and invest in our heritage.”
Money from the Heritage Stimulus Fund will also keep our nationally and internationally significant heritage assets in good condition and sustain the skilled craft workforce that looks after them.
The latest £35 million funding awards builds on £52 million already allocated from the first round of the Heritage Stimulus Fund, which has supported works at 800 of the country’s treasured heritage assets. This includes Blackpool’s iconic Tower Ballroom, the stunning Georgian landscape at Gibside in Gateshead and the tranquil Thornton-le-Beans Chapel in North Yorkshire.
None of these historic places would have been able to carry out crucial repair work during the pandemic without this support. ViewHistoric England’s video featuring specialist crafts workers whose work and skills are supported through the Heritage Stimulus Fund.
Updates regarding this project will be shared on our social channels, including our Works Department – @the_works_department.
A topical piece of sculpture has been installed on the west front of Chester Cathedral this week, directly outside the Cathedral’s historic west doors.
The artwork, entitled ‘Process’ has been created by Dr Jeremy Turner, Programme Leader for Fine Art at the University of Chester and seeks to raise awareness of sustainability as we approach the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow this November.
The materials and objects used are all part of larger sustainable or renewable logistical systems and materials management processes where constant use and re-use makes for efficient strategies of operation and low environmental impact. These pallets, barrels, containers, bins and bags have all been temporarily lifted out of their ‘normal’ sustainable daily existence for the purposes of this work and will return to circulation in that process at some point in the future. These things coalesce here in a particular way at a particular moment as part of our consideration of important global and environmental questions and will then disperse so as to continue what we might call, their day job.
Dr Turner writes “Formally and visually the work punctuates a space. The shape of the individual objects and the overall form of the piece, in tandem with the inherent colour resonates against the larger, older form and inherent colour of the cathedral and raises questions to do with value, temporality, place purpose and understanding.
The visual language of the work speaks of logistics and the industrial, but as consumers, as we process and pass through the work, it is worth remembering we are all implicated in such systems and thus, by default, are implicated in a collective responsibility for the environment.”
The installation has been made possible by the ASH Group, Contemporary Art Space Chester, CHEP (a Brambles Company), Chester Cathedral, DV Containers (Wrexham) and the University of Chester.
‘Process’ is a precursor to further COP26 related events taking place at the Cathedral, including the Cheshire Youth Climate Change Conference on the 23 October and the COP26 Exhibition on 6 November. Full details can be found on the Cathedral website at chestercathedral.com
Cathedral Canon Missioner and Vice Dean, Canon Jane Brooke outlines “The Chester Youth Climate Change Conference on 23 October will enter the Cathedral by walking through ‘Process’. This installation challenges us to consider what materials we use in our daily lives and the impact we have upon the environment. We can look after our planet or destroy it. The choice is ours.”
Chester Cathedral has been awarded £4,718 to explore the relationship between science and faith through the church engagement programme Scientists in Congregations, which is run by Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science (ECLAS).
The Cathedral is one of 22 churches and organisations in England and Wales to receive grants totalling £400,000, to be used over the next 18 months on a creative, public-facing project.
The interactive workshops are to be run by Cathedral Education Officer, Jen Stratford, and will offer children and adults the opportunity to explore light through experiment and then explore the metaphor of light in the Bible. The first set of ten workshops will focus on light and how Jesus is described as the Light of the World. They will use scientific theories covered by the curriculum to investigate how we see objects, how light changes the projection of an image, the way light travels and how light is reflected.
Canon Jane Brooke, Canon Missioner and Vice Dean at Chester Cathedral said “We’re thrilled to be able to be running these in-person and COVID-safe sessions with a range of primary schools across Chester. It will be a fantastic opportunity for the children to learn in a practical way about the scientific properties of light and connect that to Christian teaching.”
Scientists in Congregations is a programme run by the research project Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science (ECLAS). The ECLAS project is led from St John’s College, Durham University in partnership with the University of York and the Church of England. Its directors include the Revd Prof David Wilkinson and physicist Prof Tom McLeish. ECLAS and the Scientists in Congregations grants are funded by the Templeton Religion Trust. ECLAS has distributed £665,000 to over 70 churches through its Scientists in Congregations programme since 2014.
The Revd Prof David Wilkinson, Project Director of ECLAS and Principal of St John’s College, said: “We are delighted to be working with churches on such promising projects, and look forward to seeing how congregations and the communities they serve engage with science and faith in fresh and exciting ways. We are proud to offer additional funding for follow-on projects for the first time this year, which will help churches reach even more people with the message that science is a gift from God.”
The full list of churches and organisations receiving funding to participate in Scientists in Congregations 2021-22 is:
• ChaplaincyPlus, Birmingham
• Chester Cathedral
• Cornerstone Methodist Church, Wadebridge
• Exeter Cathedral
• Great Yarmouth Minster
• Holy Trinity and Christchurch, Stalybridge
• Hull Minster
• Lichfield Cathedral
• Liverpool Cathedral
• New Hope Baptist Church, Coseley
• Radio Maria England
• Redeemed Christian Church of God, Sevenoaks
• Riding Lights Theatre Company
• St Andrew’s Church, Great Yeldham
• St George’s Church, Leeds
• St German’s Cathedral
• St Lawrence Church, Gloucester
• St Mark’s Church/Xplore!, Wrexham
• St Mary and St Eanswythe, Folkestone
• St Peter Mancroft, Norwich
• The Bible Reading Fellowship
• Wembley Family Church
A team of cyclists set off from Newcastle Cathedral on Sunday May 30 – at the start of Cycling UK’s Bike Week on a relay to ride 42 Cathedrals in 42 days to launch this new kind of pilgrimage route, the Cathedrals Cycle Route (CCR).
The CCR is a unique partnership between Sustrans, Cycling UK, the British Pilgrimage Trust and the Association of English Cathedrals that links all 42 Church of England cathedrals in a new initiative to promote greener travel and mental and physical wellbeing.
The 2,000 mile Cathedrals Cycle Route is the invention of academic, entrepreneur and keen cyclist Shaun Cutler, from Northumbria University, and is designed to help us all out of lockdown with opportunities for short cycle rides between cathedrals, new partnerships and fundraising for physical and mental well-being activities.
Shaun said: “The Cathedrals Cycle Route is about connecting our historic cathedrals and enjoying the spaces between them.
Now more than ever, after a year of living with the coronavirus pandemic, this is a way to support people’s mental and physical health and promote the mission of England’s cathedrals through pilgrimage, wellbeing and heritage.”
The relay will arrive in Chester late-afternoon on Sunday 4 July, and will leave shortly after 11am on Monday 5 July.
The Bishop of Chester, Mark Tanner, will be formally enthroned at Chester Cathedral today in a service which will be live-streamed on YouTube.
Speaking ahead of the occasion, Bishop Mark said: “This service has, rightly, been delayed because of the pandemic, and it has been good to be present and prayerful over the last year. I’m delighted that I can now take the traditional episcopal seat in Chester Cathedral, the mother church of the diocese. I do so in the knowledge that the task of leading the diocese forward is one that I cannot do alone.
“In the short 12 months I have been the Bishop of Chester, I have met some of you, some of you online, and I shall enjoy meeting many more of you over the coming months and years. One of the many things I am looking forward to, as lockdown eases, is bringing people together again, helping our communities and churches to flourish, and to see in full colour once more the richness of life and the face-to-face interactions we have so dearly missed.
“We are a people of community and connection, and so, as you pray for me, I will be praying for you and for all people in the Diocese of Chester, that, with the blessing of God, we may step out in confidence to sing a joyful new song for the whole diocese and all those we serve.”
The Dean of Chester, the Very Revd Tim Stratford, who will preside at the service, said: “The cathedra, the physical seat of the diocesan bishop, has lain empty for some time now, so it is with gladness and with joy that we welcome Bishop Mark into Chester Cathedral to take his seat at the heart of the diocese as he leads us in this new chapter for our region.”
Bishop Mark formally and legally took up his episcopal duties in July 2020 but was unable to be enthroned at Chester Cathedral, a tradition that goes back centuries.
A bishop’s enthronement can only take place once he or she has paid homage to the Monarch. Bishop Mark was afforded this honour in May 2021, almost a year after he legally took up his episcopal duties.
After speaking with the Queen via video link, Bishop Mark commented: “I was honoured to be able to pay homage to her Majesty the Queen and to pass on the greetings and prayers of the whole diocese at this time. We are, and I am, blessed to have the support and prayers of such a wise and faithful Monarch.”
The symbolic enthronement service marks the final stage in the appointment of Bishop Mark as the diocesan Bishop of Chester. In May 2021, the Revd Julie Conalty and the Revd Sam Corley were announced as the next suffragan Bishops of Birkenhead and Stockport. They will be consecrated at York Minster in July. Their appointments complete the new episcopal team for the Diocese of Chester.
The Cathedral Music Trust announced that it has awarded a total of £444,500 in grants to support 36 Anglican and Roman Catholic choral foundations across the UK.
The 2021 special revenue grants programme was set up to help sustain cathedral, abbey and church choirs as they seek to recover from the devastating financial impact of lockdown. This follows on from the £1 million raised and awarded in 2020 through the Cathedral Choirs’ Emergency Fund.
In both rounds of funding, demand for grants to support choral foundations was three times greater than the funds available, demonstrating the continued urgent need for financial support.
Chairman of the Cathedral Music Trust, Peter Allwood, commented: “We are pleased that our 2021 grants programme is able to offer further support to an even wider range of choral foundations than before. However, we are keenly aware of the continued financial pressures many choirs are still experiencing. Cathedral music has nourished and sustained many of us during the past year, and we owe it to our musicians to do all that we can to keep this extraordinary heritage thriving.”
Canon Jane Brooke, Missioner and Vice Dean of Chester Cathedral said: “Chester Cathedral has a strong commitment to its music department. The Cathedral’s choral and organ music tradition is widely respected nationally and internationally. This revenue grant is a lifeline in securing the future of a thriving music department enabling it to support the recovery of the Cathedral following the pandemic.”
Roger Fisher, Organist and Master of the Choristers at Chester Cathedral, 1967-1996, died Thursday 3 June aged 84.
A prolific recitalist and recording artist, Roger will be remembered for his complete dedication to the Cathedral Choir and organ.
May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
The Hamish Ogston Foundation (HOF) has announced a further tranche of funding to support heritage craft training through the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF). This new award of £700,000, which builds on the HOF Covid Emergency grant of £535,000 announced in January, will enable the ten CWF cathedrals to offer training places to up to twenty-five craft trainees from September 2021.
The funding marks the second phase of a five-year partnership project with the CWF in which HOF is contributing £3.1m to expand heritage training at English cathedrals, enabling them to continue to develop the next generation of craftspeople despite the devastating impact of Covid-19 on cathedrals’ finances. The HOF Craft Training project will be key to maintaining the flow of skilled craftspeople on whom the future of our cathedrals depends.
CWF Executive Director Frances Cambrook said: “We are delighted that the Hamish Ogston Foundation has recognised the value of the training we provide for craftspeople in cathedrals and the importance of ensuring its continuation as cathedrals start to recover from the effects of the pandemic. Craft skills take time to develop and it is vital that we maintain the training momentum through the difficult years ahead. The funding will enable us to deliver training next year and plan confidently to offer further training opportunities over the next four years”.
Trainee stonemason Harriet Bailey is one of the trainees who will benefit directly from this grant. Harriet is due to complete her NVQ Level 3 in Stonemasonry at York College this summer and has been looking for a training role to enable her to progress. The HOF funding has enabled Chester Cathedral to create a training position to which Harriet has just been recruited. She will start at Chester in the summer and join the Level 4 course in September.
Harriet said: “I’m excited to be undertaking the CWF course funded by the Hamish Ogston Foundation and honoured to be joining Chester Cathedral to care for such a beautiful building, rich in history. I look forward to applying what I learn in the degree to my work and reaching a stage where I can plan, manage, and carry out projects. I hope one day to be able to pass down what I learn in the course to future apprentices and trainees”.
Robert Bargery, Heritage Director at the Hamish Ogston Foundation, said: “We are excited to be working with CWF on this timely project, which not only supports the heritage sector at a time of crisis but invests in the skills needed to conserve our cathedrals. Our oldest and finest buildings will not survive without a continuous flow of skilled craftspeople and a key part of our strategy is to give trainees a helping hand as they embark on a truly rewarding career”.
His late Royal Highness, Prince Philip, has given outstanding service to our nation, commonwealth and church. He has been the principal support for Her Majesty the Queen during years of stability and prosperity that characterise her reign. His charitable work and patronage, especially the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, has been an inspiration to many including myself.
We celebrate and give thanks for his life praying for his soul and the wellbeing of the Queen and all the Royal family in their mourning.
Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford, Dean of Chester.
Chester Cathedral has received a grant of £884,000 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the organisation recover and reopen.
Nearly £400 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country including Chester Cathedral in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Culture Secretary announced today.
The Cathedral was forced to take drastic measures to ensure the viability of the organisation since the start of Covid, to minimise the gap between income and expenditure. Staff levels were reduced, reserves expended and loans taken to cover losses incurred through 2020. This award will enable the Cathedral to reopen and reconnect with the city and its communities.
Over £800 million in grants and loans has already been awarded to support almost 3,800 cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites and other cultural organisations dealing with the immediate challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
This brings the Government’s total investment across grants, capital and repayable finance from the Culture Recovery Fund so far to more than £1.2 billion across over 5,000 individual cultural and heritage organisations and sites.
The second round of awards made today will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery. After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much-needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead.
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said:
“Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced.
Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors – helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.”
Dean of Chester, the Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford, said:
“It is great news that a grant of up to £884,000 is to be made through the Cultural Recovery Fund to Chester Cathedral. This will make a huge difference whilst we prepare to open our doors to visitors again.
I hope this means that the Cathedral will be able to make a great contribution as the cultural, heritage and spiritual heart of Chester in the way we did before Covid, benefitting both the local community and its economy as well as enriching the lives of visitors.”
Ros Kerslake, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“Spring is definitely here, bringing not only sunshine but that sense of optimism and hope for the future. We are all looking forward to heritage places and other visitor attractions reopening and I am very pleased that we have been able to support DCMS in delivering this vital funding to ensure the UK’s heritage sector can rebuild and thrive, boosting local economies, creating jobs and supporting personal wellbeing.”
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said:
“The value of our heritage sites and the people who run them has been amply demonstrated, as they have provided an anchor for so many of us through the dark days of the last year. Vital grants from the Culture Recovery Fund have helped them survive and will now help them recover, as the places we all cherish start to reopen in the months ahead.”
The funding awarded today is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England as well as the British Film Institute and Arts Council England
A new Covid-19 testing centre for people without symptoms is set to open in the heart of Chester city centre, as Chester Cathedral becomes home to Cheshire West and Chester Council’s third asymptomatic testing centre in the borough.
The centres offer twice weekly testing for people who cannot work from home or people who care for family and friends, as well as people who share a household or bubble with a school pupil or someone who works at a school. One in three people with Covid-19 do not have any symptoms so asymptomatic tests help to identify positive cases and prevent people from spreading the virus unknowingly.
Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “I am really pleased that we are able to work with Chester Cathedral to provide an asymptomatic testing centre at the heart of the city.
This will be an essential support for staff in the retail and hospitality sector as restrictions ease in the coming months.
It is a fabulous example of the community and Council working in partnership, all of us playing our parts in the fight against this dreadful virus.”
Dean of Chester, The Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford, said: “We are very proud that Chester Cathedral can serve its local community in this way during the pandemic.
Opening this building to the NHS, Council staff and local people to help stop the spread of a deadly disease is a return to our core purpose and values.
The cathedral is a significant building in the heart of the city centre with good street level access into the South Transept where testing will take place.
We hope that its use as an asymptomatic testing centre will strengthen the message about how important it is to stop Covid-19 spreading.”
Other Covid-19 testing centres for people without symptoms are located at Stanney Oaks Leisure Centre, in Ellesmere Port, and Winsford Lifestyle Centre. These two centres have provided more than 25,000 tests since the first site opened in December. They are open between 9am and 7pm from Monday to Friday and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. No appointment is necessary.
Further details about the opening and operational times of the Chester Cathedral asymptomatic testing centre will be announced in due course.
Anyone who develops Covid-19 symptoms, which include a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss or change in your sense of taste or smell, should self-isolate immediately and call: 119 or visit: nhs.uk/coronavirus to book a test.
To reduce the spread of Covid-19 everyone is reminded to stay at home as much as possible, wash their hands or use hand sanitiser regularly, cover their face in enclosed spaces and maintain social distancing by keeping two metres away from people they do not live with.
For more information on Covid-19 tests visit: cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/coronavirus and click on COVID-19 testing.
Chester Cathedral is delighted to announce the appointment of Wendy Robertson to a new role, which will officially be called ‘TLT Community Missioner Chester Cathedral’ but is more likely to be known simply as Community Missioner. Wendy will work for three days a week from her base in the Cathedral office and will focus upon poverty and social isolation. Wendy is already known to many in the Cathedral through her support in the introduction of ‘Places of Welcome’ into the Cathedral.
“On behalf of Transforming Lives Together (TLT), I am delighted to announce that Wendy Robertson will be back working with us as we seek to build a movement to tackle poverty in the Diocese of Chester. TLT’s new independent charitable status and an imaginative collaboration with Chester Cathedral, brings a new dimension of possibilities and exciting opportunities to make a tangible difference to the most vulnerable in society. Wendy’s superb track record in addressing issues, such as food poverty and social isolation, is going to be desperately needed as the country emerges from the pandemic. I am thrilled that Wendy is now available for Churches that want to talk to her about TLT’s flagship programmes, ‘Filling the Gap’ and ‘Places of Welcome’, but also to help any Church community think through issues around poverty. Finally I am deeply grateful to Chester Cathedral for their co-operation in making this possible and to those who have financially supported this new start for TLT. Together with our partners, Chester Diocese and the Church Urban Fund we are making a movement to tackle poverty and we invite others to join in.”
The Venerable Ian Bishop
Archdeacon of Macclesfield and Chair of Transforming Lives Together.
We have experienced in a variety of ways an extraordinary year. Some have been ill, some have lost people close to them, some have been overworked in hospitals and some have shielded so they haven’t spoken with neighbours for many months. It is a time for us to reflect looking backwards and also forwards. For this purpose as we open the cathedral doors, there will be an opportunity for everyone to tie one, two or three ribbons on the railings outside the cathedral in order to reflect on the last year.
There will be three colours:
Purple – for grief to remember everyone who has died especially those those whom we have loved
Gold – for hope as we step into the future
Red – to be thankful for the NHS and for our own lives
You may want to tie one, two or all three ribbons onto the railings and as you do so, offer a prayer to God.
Be sure to follow the Cathedral on Facebook to know when our ribbons are available. Click here for our Facebook page.
As part of a longer-term investment aimed at keeping alive the specialist skills needed to repair and maintain our cathedrals the Hamish Ogston Foundation (HOF) has joined forces with the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) to fund twenty-one stonemasonry and joinery trainees at English cathedrals in 2021.
Emergency funding of £535,000 will give the twenty-one trainees, and their employers, stability at a time of uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Without this support, some of the trainees would have had to call a halt to their studies and others would have faced redundancy, with the strong likelihood that their skills would have been lost to the heritage sector.
The funding marks the first phase of a five-year, £2.8m HOF/CWF project to expand heritage training at English cathedrals. Even before the pandemic, many cathedrals were reaching crisis point, with no dedicated public funding to help them address the backlog of repairs. Their financial position has been made much worse by Covid-19, in the wake of which it is unlikely that any cathedral will have the money to take on heritage craft trainees in the short term. The HOF/CWF Craft Training project, details of which will be published shortly, will be key to maintaining the flow of skilled craftspeople on whom the future of our cathedrals depends.
CWF Executive Director Frances Cambrook said: “We are very excited to be working with the Hamish Ogston Foundation on this important initiative. Cathedrals, like everyone, have been hit hard by the pandemic and the immediate future of our craft training programmes was in jeopardy. The funding will enable training to continue online throughout the rest of this academic year, avoiding the loss of trainee positions, and enable us to plan confidently to increase training opportunities over the next four years”.
Stonemason Tony Murphy is one of the trainees who will benefit directly from this grant. Redundancy had meant that he would have to give up his place on the CWF’s 2-year Foundation degree course, but HOF funding has enabled Tony to take up a placement at Gloucester Cathedral which will allow him to complete the course this year.
Tony said: “The funding from the Hamish Ogston Foundation is enabling me to continue my learning through the CWF at Gloucester Cathedral. I am passionate about furthering my skills and deepening my knowledge and experience as a crafts person. The broad range of teaching, work-based learning and professional development provided by the CWF is an invaluable opportunity for me. I am incredibly grateful to the HOF for their support”.
Chester Cathedral Stonemason, Tom Livingstone said: “Being a student on the CWF course at this time has allowed me to maintain a network with like-minded individuals which has been a great comfort. The HOF funding is providing vital security to the burgeoning masonry department and my personal position at Chester Cathedral.”
In the silent, moonlit cathedral the little carved, brown mouse sneezed, ‘Atishoo, Atishoo, Atishoo.’
Children can join Awesome Anselm – a wooden Cathedral mouse – on his third adventure in the glorious setting of Chester Cathedral. Catch up with Anselm’s old friends the pig and the griffin and meet some new friends, including someone special who has been hiding for centuries right at the very top of the Cathedral, and travel with them all on another exciting escapade.
‘Awesome Anselm and the Chester Imp’ has been created and written by the Cathedral’s Vice Dean, Canon Jane Brooke and illustrated by Patricia Faraday and is now on sale in the Cathedral’s online gift shop at chestercathedralshop.com.
Priced at £7.99 and with all profits going to the Cathedral’s Education Department, this lovely story book would make a great birthday gift for children aged three to seven.
Almost 450 heritage organisations in England, including Chester Cathedral have been awarded cash from the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage
Grants of up to £1 million will deliver a lifeline for the heritage sector in England with further support to follow and larger grants for capital projects awarded through the Heritage Stimulus Fund
First major tranche of funding from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund
Chester Cathedral is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country set to receive a lifesaving financial boost from the government thanks to the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.
445 organisations will share £103 million, including Chester Cathedral to help restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance on cherished heritage sites, keeping venues open and supporting those working in the sector.
Chester Cathedral has been awarded £16,501 to complete the first phase of a conservation project on the Cathedral’s Baptistry Mosaic flooring. The grant will support an expert conservator who will bring back to life the Mosaics that have been covered for well over a decade. The grant will also provide a public viewing platform giving access to St Anselm’s Chapel, which has a fine example of a Jacobean ceiling.
This vital funding is from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund – funded by Government and administered at arms length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Both funds are part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.
433 organisations will receive a share of £67 million from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage to help with costs for operating, reopening and recovery. This includes famous heritage sites across the country, from Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire to Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, Blyth Tall Ship to the Severn Valley Railway, the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincolnshire to the Piecehall in Halifax. The funds will save sites that are a source of pride for communities across the country.
12 organisations, including English Heritage, Landmark Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and the Canal and River Trust, will receive £34 million from the Heritage Stimulus Fund to restart construction and maintenance on cherished heritage sites to preserve visitor attractions and protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors in the sector.
The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) has also been awarded a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund through Historic England. The AHF will use the funding to support charities and social enterprises occupying historic buildings to develop new business plans and strategies for organisations affected by the pandemic.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
“As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past. This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounceback post covid.”
Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces, said:
“There’s no truer way to experience the past than to walk in the footsteps of those who have lived it – that’s why preserving our built heritage is so important.
“At Historic Royal Palaces, we care for six nationally significant buildings, opening them to the public and preserving them for future generations. Sadly, the pandemic meant that we had to stop some of our critical conservation work. The grant we have received from the Culture Recovery Fund will enable to this work to resume – so we can give some of Britain’s most historic buildings the care and attention they deserve, while supporting the specialist craftspeople who are vital for the future of our national heritage. We are enormously grateful to the Government for this support.”
Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive said:
“It is heartening to see grants, both large and small, from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund helping heritage sites and organisations across the country which have been hit hard by the effects of Covid-19. These grants range from giving skilled craft workers the chance to keep their trades alive to helping heritage organisations pay the bills, and to kick-starting repair works at our best-loved historic sites. The funding is an essential lifeline for our heritage and the people who work tirelessly to conserve it for us all, so that we can hand it on to future generations.”
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund said:
“It is absolutely right that investing in heritage should be a priority during this crisis and this support by Government is crucial. Heritage creates jobs and economic prosperity, is a major driver for tourism and makes our towns, cities, and rural areas better places to live. All of this is so important for our wellbeing and will be particularly vital when we start to emerge from this incredibly difficult time.
“Our heritage is still facing a perilous future – we are not out of the woods yet. But this hugely welcome funding from Government, and the money we continue to invest from the National Lottery, has undoubtedly stopped heritage and the organisations that care for it being permanently lost.”
Kate Mavor, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said:
“This support for our nation’s heritage is fantastic news. Over the last few months, our teams have been working hard to welcome visitors back safely to the great castles, stone circles, abbeys and historic houses in our care. This funding will help us invest to safeguard the historic fabric of these much-loved places, which everyone can learn from and enjoy.”