Bulldozers have moved onto the Green outside Bradford Cathedral at the start of a six month redevelopment scheme which will see the regeneration of the local area.
With buildings close to the Cathedral also being redeveloped, new paths and improved access, the restoration of the 19th century State Gate linking Cathedral and city, as well as work to the Cathedral itself, a total of nearly 2 million pounds is being spent in local regeneration projects.
On a tour of the site given for local businesses and media, the Dean of Bradford, the Very Revd Jerry Lepine, said the work would contribute to a "new narrative" in Bradford.
"This Cathedral is the oldest building in Bradford, and is a steward of its heritage," said Dean Jerry. "We take that very seriously, and we like to think this building is cared for in the best way we can.”
Grants of £540,000 from the First World War Centenary Cathedral Fund are being used to restore the Victorian State Gate, and carry out high level repairs to the Cathedral roof including the Lantern Cross, and a new replica of the historic cockerel weather vane (pictured right). Currently the Cathedral Green is closed to the public as contractors create a new path and improved access from Stott Hill to the North Porch entrance.
Builders excavating below the State Gate have already made some unexpected finds and Dean Jerry with Cathedral Architect, Ulrike Knox, are pictured (left) examining two 19th century pots which were recently unearthed as a closed off section of the Victorian entrance has been opened up. Cathedral
Architect, Ulrike Knox, said the six month State Gate project will include complete repointing and strengthening of the structure, new lighting and the possibility of exhibition boards being put on display in the new and improved entrance.
Dean Jerry said that money to make the repairs and restoration had come just in time.."It was within a year of being shut down, as it had become too unsafe. Any repairs for buildings like that are exceedingly expensive, so I can't underline how much how thrilled we are that this entrance is going to be made good and sound.”
He added, “ This Cathedral is very much part of Bradford life, and what we want to do is to send out a message that we're open for business, and the more business we get from the city the better.
"The State Gate is iconic as far as I'm concerned, and it's making a statement that we're open and we welcome people."