Financial Boost to Abbey Gateway Restoration - Chester Cathedral

Financial Boost to Abbey Gateway Restoration

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142 historic sites across England including Chester Cathedral will receive grants worth £35 million through the government's Culture Recovery Fund.

  • Funding will help bring heritage sites back to life by paying for vital repairs and major building programmes
  • Thanks to the £198,599 grant, Chester Cathedral’s historic, Grade 1 listed Abbey Gateway will undergo much-needed conservation and maintenance and be visible evidence of the Cathedral’s continued commitment to its heritage

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. View Historic 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.

Kevin Baxter

Communications Director

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It costs £6,000 a day to care for our historic building and to maintain our worship and music tradition. We rely on the kindness and generosity of people like you to power our work.