Leicester Cathedral’s ambitious £11.3m project to restore the city’s historic cathedral and build a new heritage learning centre beside the main building has secured its full grant of £3.3m from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The Heritage Learning Centre, on the site of the former Song School, will be a two-storey stone building with some terracotta and glass features. Planning approval was secured earlier this year from the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England and Leicester City Council, after taking advice from Historic England, the Leicester Conservation Advisory Panel and others.
The Dean of Leicester, the Very Revd David Monteith said: “Leicester Cathedral Revealed is very important because it will transform what we will be able to do. It will protect the historic setting of the Cathedral, free up the sacred spaces, provide inspirational interpretation and learning facilities, and be a safe place of hospitality and refuge for those in need. In every respect it will transform the individual experience of being inside the Cathedral.
“Since the reinterment of King Richard III in 2015, our city has benefited from £8m additional income a year thanks to the extraordinary upsurge in cultural tourists. This project has the potential to double that for the city.
“We are delighted and immensely grateful for the significant support we have received from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and from local individuals and organisations. We have now raised £8m and have £3m left to secure. So there is still a job to be done. We will continue to fundraise throughout 2019 and with the help of everyone who believes this project matters to all our communities, we will get there.”
Leicester is one of three English Cathedrals (the others being Worcester and Newcastle) which are to receive a total of more than £8m from the latest round of major grants from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to protect and enhance their faith-based heritage and to extend their cultural and social contribution to their local communities and visitors.
Becky Clark, the Church of England’s Director of Churches and Cathedrals, said: “Creating positive and lasting change for people and communities is a vision The National Lottery Heritage Fund shares with cathedrals, so the news that Leicester, Newcastle and Worcester Cathedrals have all benefitted from this most recent round of funding is tremendous.
“The value of our cathedrals is clear to the 10 million people who visit each year, and to the hundreds of thousands who regularly attend worship.
“All three of the projects funded in this round are focused primarily on increasing welcome, improving access, and providing inspiration.
“The cities and wider communities which Leicester, Newcastle and Worcester serve are at the heart of these projects, and these funding awards highlight the enduring importance and appeal of cathedrals, and their ability to maintain traditions of worship and openness whilst also pioneering new ways of inviting everyone to enjoy all they have to offer.”
Work in Leicester is expected to begin on site in early 2020 and is anticipated to be completed by 2022.
Three indicative images showing the impact on the Cathedral when the work is complete are used on this page. Please acknowledge these as “These images are artist’s impressions only as final details will be subject to planning conditions.
Since the reburial of King Richard III in 2015, Leicester Cathedral has seen vastly increased visitor numbers as thousands of people each year flock to see the former king’s final resting place – with around 145,000 visitors last year. The Cathedral is open to all every day of the year free of charge, though donations are invited.
The Leicester Cathedral Revealed Project was commenced in 2016, and will complete work first envisaged in a reordering Masterplan compiled in 2008. The Cathedral’s architects throughout this period have been van Heyningen and Haward, whose work preparing for the King Richard III reinterment won national awards.