Mon-Fri:

9.00am - 5.00pm

Sat:

9.00am - 5.00pm

Sun:

12.00pm - 3.00pm

Jonathan Leftley, Site Manager for Messenger Construction, talks us through the restoration works currently underway on No 25 Minster Precincts and the Knights' Chamber.

The Knights' Chamber

Within what used to be a bathroom we uncovered a doorway in the wall between No 25 and the Knights' Chamber. Within it was an original staircase, which was exciting to find. 

The Knights' Chamber is a magnificent room. We have been taking out more recent fittings so that you can see what would have been there years ago. For example, we removed a tea area and toilet in the corner which reveals the nice archway there.

We've also done repairs to the ceiling in the Knights' Chamber. Not much repair was needed because it was in good condition with just a few cracks and spot repairs. We're now undertaking plaster repairs to the walls and to the staircase leading from the Knights' Chamber. A big plaster area on the ceiling had been damaged through water.

There will be other works done in here as the project progresses and we are putting in toilets.

The stairway between No 25 and the Knights' Chamber

The interior of the Knights' Chamber

No 25, first and second floor

There were three separate rooms, which we have knocked into one. This will be one big meeting room with concertina doors to divide it up when needed. Currently we are waiting for the steel to come in so that we can fix them.

In the far room that leads to No 24, we've created a new doorway into the top floor of the offices at No 24, which is where the Schools and Families Officer will be based.

In all the rooms, heating pipes are going in as well as new wiring. We are also strenghtening the floor in places. We have needed some minor repairs to the windows to make sure they are in working order.

In the lobby area where the new lift shaft will go there is another set of toilets which are at the first fix and pipework stage.

The new doorway between No 25 and No 24Heating pipes and cabling on the first floorStudwork and first fix pipe work to the toilets

 

No 25, the ground floor

We have created a large opening to join two rooms into one. The joists were in a poor state as some of the original timbers had been used elsewhere, so we're currently piecing in new joists along the side of the old ones, bolted together to create sturdiness.

The old kitchen corridor area which leads to the garden has a nice barrelled ceiling which will stay as it is. This was the original access to the kitchen, which we have just reopened.

In the kitchen area the main structural work is for the lift shaft base. We are currently doing the steel work for the slab to support the lift. When we were doing our groundworks for the slab, we revealed a medieval floor and part of a medieval wall. The archaeologists have been in and studied the site and recorded their findings. Then we removed some plaster from the wall that links the Knights' Chamber with No 25 and we found what they think is an old fireplace. Again, the archaeologists have been in to study and record this. Now that their findings are recorded, we can proceed with the slab. We will use foam material to protect the medieval remains so that in the future they could be uncovered. We won't fix anything directly to the wall where the fireplace is, as originally planned, but instead there will be a self supporting wall in front of it.

Again on the ground floor, in what was the old utility room of the house, new drainage is going in as well as toilets.

The large opening on the ground floorThe medieval wall and floor revealed to the left of the lift baseWorks in the utility area

The exterior

On the rear elevation there will be minor stone, window and mortar repairs. 

On the Knights' Chamber roof we have stripped off all the old slate and taken off the lead gutters and done some minor timber repairs to the lead guttters, and a few repairs to the rafters. We are now reinstalling the gutters and waiting for materials to come in for the leadwork and the slate.

There will be new leadwork, slate work and stone work repairs to the top.

On the front elevation we will do some very subtle stone cleaning, then take a view of what repairs are needed.

Tony Redman of WCP with Debbie Priddy (Historic England), Sam Falco (Peterborough City Council) and Dr Jackie Hall (Cathedral Archaeologist) on the roof of the Knights' Chamber. Credit: WCPThe exterior of No 25 and the Knights' Chamber from the backExterior of No 25 and the Knights' Chamber from the front

Working at the Cathedral

Working on such a public site does make a difference - people want to come in and have a look, but of course they are not allowed to. Deliveries can be difficult to arrange as we have to work around weddings, funerals and other things taking place here, but the Cathedral has been great to work with.

The work itself is not that different to other sites that Messenger Construction has worked on, except that because the Knights' Chamber is a Scheduled Monument it means we have to look at it differently.