First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund

Leicester Cathedral has been awarded £140k towards essential repairs to the North side of the building.  This is the first round of grants from the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund.  The Fund is a partnership between ChurchCare, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and the Catholic Church.

Leicester Cathedral is the second poorest cathedral in England, after Bradford, with very few reserves and this grant will ensure that some of the most pressing repairs and conservation works to stone, windows and glass, water-goods are undertaken.

The Dean of Leicester, the Very Revd David Monteith, said:  ‘Leicester Cathedral values its local heritage and is very grateful for the contribution from the Department of Culture Media and Sport; monies of this kind make an enormous difference.’

The building houses the Leicester Regiment (now known as the Tigers) Military Chapel which includes the commemoration of those who died in 1914-18.  This regiment’s rugby team would eventually morph into the present day Leicester Tigers and the regiment’s red and green colours are used in the main Cathedral decorative scheme.  This is a key part of our connection with the wider community.

The Great East Window, dedicated in 1920 and made by Christopher Whall (1849-1924), is one of the Cathedral’s great treasures, poignantly showing a First World War soldier heading off whilst the Virgin comforts his two children.  This is one of Leicester’s principle memorials to the parishioners and worshippers who fell.  The Great South Aisle houses The Golden Book which records the 11,000 names of those from our city and county who died in the Great War; movingly displayed in a cabinet decorated with contemporary figures from the armed forces of the time.

Leicester Cathedral is unearthing history for exhibitions during the four year commemoration – including retelling the stories of those who survived.  Our commemoration will begin in August with a formal service and then the following day a popular vigil will be held when we will extinguish the lights as they did ‘across Europe’.  A triptych painted by a German prisoner of war from the Leicester City Art Collection will be on display during August and September and a series of lectures is planned for October 2014.