The three cathedrals secure share of £8 million for repairs

The Culture Secretary,  Sajid Javid, has announced (October 27th) that the three diocesan Cathedrals of Wakefield, Bradford and Ripon will be among thirty-one from across England receiving almost £8million for urgent repairs in the second round of grants from the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repair Fund.

Between them the West Yorkshire and the Dales cathedrals will receive more than £924,000. Bradford Cathedral will receive £349,479 for repairs to the state gate, Ripon Cathedral will receive £354,617 for repairs to the north transept and roof, and Wakefield Cathedral will be able to repair the quire and nave roof with a grant of £220,000.

The three Cathedrals, Bradford, Ripon and Wakefield

Bradford Cathedral Ripon Cathedral autumn Wakefield Cathedral

The fund was set up in April this year in recognition of the powerful symbol our cathedrals are of Britain’s shared history, as well as the significant role they will play throughout the commemorations of the centenary of the First World War.

The Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, who also leads the Government’s FWW Centenary programme, said, “Our heritage in this country is precious and unique. We need to do all we can to protect it for future generations. This second round of grants will ensure that even more of our magnificent and awe-inspiring cathedrals can complete urgent and much needed repairs, so they can continue to play a huge role in the communities they serve.

“Our places of worship are also playing a huge part in all our plans to commemorate the centenary of the First World War, and this Fund is helping to ensure they can fulfil this role to remember those who gave so much for us so many years ago.”

Ripon Cathedral has received all the money it applied for to renew and repair the crumbling stonework of the north east corner of Ripon Cathedral (see picture, below left).

The Very Reverend John Dobson, Dean of Ripon, welcomed the announcement: “I am delighted by this very encouraging news. This grant means that urgently-needed work can be done quickly on this iconic building, one that speaks of the enduring presence and love of God in this region. The announcement comes at a time when we are doing much in Ripon Cathedral to mark the centenary of the First World War and following a weekend when over 400 people have participated in a consultation process that seeks to discern God’s will for future mission in this place. This grant certainly helps.”

Stonework at RiponPart of the project will involve the replacement of some of the Cathedral’s gargoyles which have weathered to the point where their original designs cannot be made out. The designs for the new gargoyles will be decided through a competition, details of which will be announced in the new year, with the new gargoyles expected to be installed by August 2015.

At Wakefield Cathedral, the Dean, the Very Revd Jonathan Greener said, “We in Wakefield are delighted to receive this grant towards our new lead roof.  We have put a great deal of energy in recent years into renewing the interior of the building, so were devastated to discover that the external roof was failing much more quickly than had been expected.  This Government grant has come to the rescue.  We, like many others we are immensely grateful that these funds are being made available to cathedrals across the country, since these buildings are such a vital part of our national life and heritage.”

Bradford Cathedral will use their grant for the repair and restoration of the’ State Gates’ (pictured below left), the steps and entrance on the western side of the Cathedral precinct linking it with the city centre.

The Dean of Bradford, the Very Revd Jerry Lepine said, “We are absolutely delighted that the First Word War Fund has given us this grant of £349,479 towards the repair and restoration of this piece of Bradford’s heritage. The Cathedral is keen to make a contribution to regeneration and this will transform one of the features in the centre of Bradford.

Bradford State GatesHe added, “The State Gates, directly opposite the new Westfield site, were built at the end of the 19th century as part of the Cathedral precinct but it is only within the last twenty years that the Cathedral has become entirely responsible for them. It is the main access to the Cathedral from the centre of the City and the railway station and is in a poor state of repair. We have been told that it might have to close within two years due to the risk it poses. This will clearly compromise the Cathedral’s welcome to people in the centre of the City as well as inconvenience shoppers using the Cathedral precinct as a thoroughfare.

“The money will enable repairs such as grouting, pointing, rebuilding certain sections and reinstating a blocked up opening.”

 Sir Paul Ruddock, Chair of the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund expert panel and Chairman of the Victoria & Albert Museum, said:

“The appeal of cathedrals is vast and enduring. Every part of English history can be seen somewhere within their walls, and I am delighted that this second round of grant is providing vital support to keep them open for all to enjoy.”

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