Repair, Restore and Reorder
A comprehensive programme of repair will put the cathedral back into good order. We will replace or repair some of our external nineteenth-century stonework; restore the roof of the north porch which has timber decay; do remedial work to entrances and lobbies; remove asbestos and treat recurring damp. We will also be upgrading existing works and systems to enhance the overall experience of the building. We will update our heating system; install new lighting and AV; introduce underfloor heating and lay new stone floors with an inclined floor plane, in the process removing all steps. Then we will be able to restore and celebrate the historic fabric of the cathedral and illuminate a common heritage within Leicester derived substantially from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Inside the cathedral, the work of talented architects and artists abounds. Two of the stained glass windows are by the well-known Arts & Crafts specialist Christopher Whall, while some of the great names of the nineteenth-century Gothic period have left their mark on other parts of the Cathedral.
Cathedrals are complex buildings. They are important as repositories of faith and as witnesses to the many manifestations of our past. The reordering of Leicester Cathedral will open up our spaces, allowing us to enjoy and understand better the different experiences they provide – worship, hospitality, reflection, sanctuary, gathering, friendship, learning, inspiration.
We will be able to appreciate fully the archaeological and architectural features, the history and purpose of the four chapels, the stories the windows tell us, how the belfry works, what is a cathedra, the story behind the king’s tomb, the deeply personal messages of the memorial stones, what happens in the daily life of the building.
The project centrepiece – a new Heritage Learning Centre – will provide immersive interpretation for independent exploration in its Orientation and Exhibition Gallery, hosting a permanent exhibition on the two-thousand year history of the Cathedral and its site, with rotating artefact displays, hands-on interactive tables, digital touchscreens and audio visual stories. There will be space for temporary exhibitions co-curated with cultural partners. Upstairs will be a flexible learning space utilizing digital technology for inspirational learning. The two floors below ground will provide toilet facilities for the public and vital spaces to make the day to day running of the Cathedral efficient and discrete for our staff and many volunteers.