Winchester Cathedral is pleased to announce that it has received initial support* from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a £10.5m HLF bid for repairs to the Cathedral fabric and development of a major project entitled ‘Kings and Scribes – The Birth of a Nation’. A grant of £475,000 has been awarded to fund the development work required to make a full application.
Conservation of the Cathedral fabric will encompass essential repairs to the Presbytery roof, wooden vault and the surviving medieval stained glass windows.
The development project will involve modifications to the South Transept to make the Cathedral’s treasures more accessible.
The 12th Century Winchester Bible will be relocated to the ground floor of the transept where it will be exhibited and interpreted to modern standards. An exhibition entitled Decoding the Stones will be mounted on the first floor to enable visitors to learn about the architectural evolution of the building. Further, a unique interactive exhibition will unlock the history and humanise the mortal remains of early English Saxon royals which are preserved in the ornate mortuary chests. This exhibition will be installed in the Triforium Gallery; entitled Kings and Scribes – The Birth of a Nation it will celebrate the origins of the English nation and its association with Winchester. Three levels will house the three exhibitions. This will appeal to young and old alike and will transform the visitor experience through the opportunities it will offer for active participation and learning, the latter being met by improved education facilities.
The Cathedral’s Receiver General, Annabelle Boyes, is delighted with the award.
“We are now in a position where we can realistically look forward to the day when we can undertake urgent major repairs and conservation work on the Cathedral’s fabric that will preserve it for future generations. With three new exciting exhibitions planned, in particular Kings and Scribes – The Birth of a Nation will be of national and international importance as it will set out the history of the Cathedral through the stories of the many people who have touched its ancient stones.”
Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF South East, said:
“Winchester Cathedral, built on the instruction of William the Conqueror, has weathered both the religious and political storms of over nine hundred years worth of history. We hope very much that this tradition can continue into the future and that the Heritage Lottery Fund’s initial indication of support for this conservation project will kick start a wider fundraising programme. Cathedrals are notoriously expensive to look after so we are particularly heartened by plans to get more volunteers involved as well as the desire to widen the range of visitors to the site.”
The Dean, The Very Reverend James Atwell commented:
“It is well known that Winchester is the longest medieval Cathedral in England. That means there is a lot of historic fabric to maintain. It also means that Winchester has a significance beyond the ordinary and needs to tell its story effectively in the 21st Century and offer an exceptional experience to visitors and worshippers alike. The support of the Heritage Lottery Fund is very exciting as it will enable the Cathedral both to maintain its fabric and to fulfil its potential with a fresh burst of energy and dynamism in our own generation”.
The Kings and Scribes project will conserve and re-energise the use and enjoyment of a vital piece of the nation’s heritage and open up access to the Cathedral’s illustrious history and treasures. The Cathedral now has up to two years to submit a formal application for second stage funding from the HLF.
* A first-round pass means the project meets HLF criteria for funding and HLF believes the project has potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money. The application was in competition with other supportable projects, so a first-round pass is an endorsement of outline proposals. Having been awarded a first-round pass, the project now has up to two years to submit fully developed proposals to compete for a firm award.
On occasion, an applicant with a first-round pass will also be awarded development funding towards the development of their scheme, as in this case.
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 30,000 projects, allocating £4.9billion across the UK. Website: www.hlf.org.uk
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