DONATE

NEWCASTLE CATHEDRAL
SEE US IN A NEW LIGHT

  • OPENING TIMES

  • Sunday
    Check What’s On for details
  • Monday to Friday
    Check What’s On for details
  • Saturdays and Bank Holidays
    Check What’s On for details
  • FREE ENTRY

Opening times

  • Sunday
    Check What’s On for details
  • Monday to Friday
    Check What’s On for details
  • Saturdays and Bank Holidays
    Check What’s On for details
  • FREE ENTRY

Cathedral Renovations – Pre-Christmas Update

December 2020

Lindy Gilliland, our Common Ground in Sacred Space Project Manager, writes:

As we hurtle towards year-end, the pace hasn’t slackened on-site or in our (home) offices. So much to relay and too few hours in the day! The contractor has December targets in sight – to get the Nave ready for paving, the Cathedral Hall’s visitor facilities plastered, and the plaza’s terraces laid. 

Click here to watch a video that gives a glimpse of the work involved on a day-to-day basis.

One job which can’t be hurried is the archaeology. Despite deteriorating weather, the Cathedral Archaeologist has painstakingly excavated a small number of disturbed churchyard burials, including, sadly, that of a child buried in a very shallow grave.

Inside, the workmen have stripped back the floor and lifted ledger stones to reveal column bases, lined vaults and decayed wooden coffin fragments, all of which need archaeological recording.

Impressions, and then a hole appearing in the central area of the Nave, reveal multiple family vaults below. The structural integrity of the floor becomes a design concern – this area is to receive insulation and then the underfloor heating circuit, all encapsulated in a cement-like slab.

Staying below ground for a moment, have a peek at Cathedral Hall’s new visitor facilities. 

Lucy and Alina check out the new volunteers’ centre and imagine how the hole in the wall will be transformed into a new stairway and lift to the ground floor entrance above.

Meanwhile, four new boilers have been delivered to site – but not in time to get the heating back on for Christmas! The trenches are almost ready to be closed up with all electrics installed.

Back in the churchyard, we find that a number of gravestones have been re-purposed for later burials or as walling stone. We’ll have new names for keen genealogists to follow up – a historic record that has been missing for many years.

This particular kerbstone reads: ‘The burial place of John Hall, Cordwainer’. A cordwainer was a shoemaker trained in the technical aspects of crafting a shoe from scratch.

It’s exciting to see materials coming together on-site and visualise what the architects designed some time ago. There’s granite from Portugal, Caithness stone, and Corten steel outside – though the steel decorative grille for the new pathway will weather away to an intentional rust colour in due course.

Inside the Cathedral, materials are also chosen with extreme care.

Specialist woodcarver Iain Broadbent has recreated missing pieces of the North Porch with exquisite skill. You can see more of Iain’s work by visiting his website.

We’ve also placed orders for 600 light oak chairs and benches with Treske in Yorkshire. Coupled with ‘blonde’ paving from Dunhouse Quarry, the interior of the Nave should appear a lot lighter.

Our heritage exhibition will also be light touch and is based on a combination of lighting, sound, animation and graphics. There’s a little way to go before the units currently in workshop production are completed as the graceful exhibition we envisage…

We’ve been keen to capture the public’s thoughts on how we tell some of the Cathedral’s stories. Thank you to everybody who filled out the recent survey that we sent to newsletter subscribers. We received a great response!

Bridges, Geordie, People, Culture, Buildings, University, Friendly, Architecture, Heritage, River, Diverse


Most popular answers to the question: ‘What makes Newcastle what it is today?’… Would you agree?

If you’d like to get involved in similar opportunities going forward – and be among the first to hear all about the Cathedral’s exciting redevelopments, be sure to sign up to our newsletter.