December 2023 – Before planning your visit, please check our ‘Visitor Notices’ for accessibility updates and one-off changes to opening times. Click here to view.
A BEACON OF LIGHT
Ongoing Lantern Tower works
Starting Wednesday 20 September 2023, the West Entrance at Newcastle Cathedral is temporarily unavailable due to necessary maintenance work related to our historic Lantern Tower. This will affect pedestrian access to the nearby footpaths and entrance to the Cathedral.
Please note that during this period, the clock on the Cathedral tower will not display the correct time until the mechanism can be accessed.
The Very Revd Dr Jane Hedges, Interim Dean of Newcastle, explains: “The Cathedral’s age necessitates ongoing preservation and maintenance.
“During a recent inspection of the Lantern Tower, important maintenance needs were identified, leading to the temporary closure of the West Entrance for necessary work by contractors from Newcastle City Council.
“While the North Entrance on St Nicholas Square remains open, it is not accessible for wheelchair users or those with limited mobility.
“Fortunately, a new wheelchair-accessible entrance was introduced on the east side of the Cathedral during its National Lottery Heritage Funded redevelopment in 2020 and 2021. This fully accessible East Entrance is located at the back of the Cathedral.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the temporary closures. This maintenance work is a top priority and rest assured, the Cathedral remains open to welcome visitors and worshippers – albeit via a slightly different route for the time being.”
This conservation work is the first of its kind in over 30 years; the tower was covered in scaffolding when Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited in April 1990 to distribute the Royal Maundy money.
The Lantern Tower is named after the fire lit in its pinnacle during the Middle Ages to guide travellers along the River Tyne at night. It was constructed in 1448, funded by philanthropists Robert and Agnes Rhodes, and is often compared to the tower of St Giles’ Cathedral on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, built half a century later.
Today, the tower inspires the ‘Lantern Initiative’, part of the Cathedral’s work to provide a beacon of light for those going through challenging times. Click here to find out more.
If you are interested in supporting this work or the ongoing preservation of the Cathedral as a cherished piece of Newcastle’s heritage, please visit newcastlecathedral.org.uk/donate.