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Work begins on new heritage and education centre

Monday 6 July

Work has begun on conserving two Grade I Listed buildings in the Cathedral Precincts and converting them into a new heritage and education centre for visitors.

No sooner had the 85 tonnes of sand brought into the Cathedral Precincts for the Heritage Festival’s jousting tilt yard been cleared away than in came more builder’s materials.  This time the lorries in the Precincts were bringing scaffolding and hoardings so that work could begin on the two buildings which will become the new Cathedral Heritage and Education Centre.

As anyone who pops into the Cathedral Precincts to picnic on the grass at lunchtimes will know, the two buildings concerned are in a prime location, between the Norman Arch which leads to the city centre, and the Cathedral itself. No 25 was previously rented out as a private house whilst the Knights' Chamber, above the archway leading to the Bishop’s Lodging, has not been in use for many years because of its poor state of repair.

The conversion of these two Grade I Listed buildings into a centre for visitors is part of a major Heritage Lottery Funded project to improve physical and intellectual access to the Cathedral. The first phase - to level the approach to the Cathedral and create a lighter and more welcoming entrance - was completed in April when the Duke of Gloucester came to celebrate its opening.

The new Heritage and Education Centre will eventually house fascinating displays about the Cathedral’s 1300 year history, including an interactive “touch table” to explore different stories and themes, and an illustrated time line showing what happened when. It will also have facilities for visiting schools and other groups, and a space for temporary exhibitions.

“One of the many exciting things about the new Heritage and Education Centre is that not only will we be able to offer a much better understanding of the history, the people and the faith of this wonderful place, but also we will be able to open up conversations,” said the Dean of Peterborough, the Very Revd Charles Taylor. “The space for community exhibitions and events will mean that we can both offer our own programme of talks, recitals and events and, where appropriate, host those of community groups in the city.”

During the early stages of work the builders, Messenger Construction of Stamford, discovered a staircase within a 1.5 metre thick wall between the two properties. It is hoped to post photographs of the work as it progresses on the Cathedral’s website and on the site boards.

The Cathedral Heritage and Education Centre is due to open in the summer of 2016.


Progress report from Messenger Construction, September 2015

Soaring scaffolding at the north tower

Scaffolding on the north tower at Peterborough CathedralJuly 2015

Eagle-eyed visitors to the Cathedral will have noticed the growing scaffold tower on the north side of the building which soars to a height of around 40 metres. It is there so that masons from the Peterborough firm John Lucas can repair and replace weather damaged stonework. The work is paid for by a grant of £85,000 from the First World War Memorial Grant scheme. It is due for completion in the middle of October.  A grant from the same source has paid for the repairs also being carried out on a mosaic floor inside the Cathedral.