St George’s Chapel flooring reveal
A key part of the Leicester Cathedral Revealed (LCR) project is to lay new stone floors providing level access throughout the Cathedral and update our heating system including underfloor heating. In preparation for this, investigation works were recently carried out to find out what lies below the tiled and mosaic flooring to St George’s Chapel, located in the southwest corner of the Cathedral and enclosed by a carved wooden screen.
St. Georges Chapel was dedicated by the Lord Bishop of Peterborough on 11 November 1921 and contains memorials to the men of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment. Here, the battle honours of the Regiment and the names of those killed in the Crimean, South African and two World Wars are recorded and remembered.
Back in June 1825, King George IV approved the regiment to bear on its colours and appointments the figure of the Royal Tiger with the words HINDOOSTAN, as a testimony of the exemplary conduct of the Corps during the period of service in India between 1804 and 1823. The regiment became known as ‘The Tigers’ and the Royal Tiger is shown in various ways around the chapel, including inlayed with mosaic tiling in chapel floor.
The investigation works were carried out to understand the construction of the floor and evaluate whether the tiling can be safely lifted, stored, and reinstated. With the Cathedral being closed as part of the lock-down measures, it was essential to draw up a full and detailed risk assessment including latest guidance and advice on Covid-19.
The works were carried out by James Elliott, the very experienced and expert stonemason who has had a close involvement with Leicester Cathedral in recent years having constructed the Richard III tomb and the Alabaster Altar within the Sanctuary.
James has extensive knowledge on stone floors and detailing and has the added benefit of being relatively local, being based in Rutland. See www.jameselliott.co.uk for more information on his work.
LCR project architect, Josh McCosh from van Heyningen and Haward, was on hand to oversee the investigative work, which revealed that the mosaics are laid on a thin terrazzo slab, so were therefore originally assembled off-site. These slabs have then been laid on a weak mortar bed on top of a thin lime/concrete slab. The examination did not penetrate any further than the existing tiles and bedding, so there were no archaeological implications.
James and Josh are clear in their view that it will be possible to lift the entire Leicester Tigers tile and mosaic assembly, in its individual slabs, as well as the rest of the St Georges marble floor, and relay it after the new floor and underfloor heating have been installed.
The result of the investigation work will now be formally written up by van Heyningen and Haward in a short report and submitted to the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England in order to obtain formal for the proposed lifting and relaying of the floor of St George’s Chapel.
Fundraising for Leicester Cathedral Revealed continues on all fronts to secure the significant funds still needed to start building and construction work. What was already a challenging task has been made more difficult by the coronavirus emergency – but we move forward in faith, hope and trust. The project has received generous support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, charitable trusts and foundations and local individuals and organisations.
Focus Consultants appointed to key role
With the Leicester Cathedral Revealed project having moved into RIBA Stage 4, involving detailed technical design, we have now appointed Focus Consultants to the Construction Project Manager role.
Steven Fletcher and Richard Aston will comprise the Focus team, and both have extensive experience in heritage and ecclesiastical projects and good local proximity to Leicester.
Focus have been appointed to provide key project management support and advice through RIBA Stage 4, including project programme and phasing, tender procurement strategy and process, and discharging key planning conditions
Steven Fletcher, Partner at Focus, said;
“I am delighted that Focus has been appointed to this role for Leicester Cathedral Revealed. We have been aware of the project for some time and are really looking forward to supporting its ambitious aims of restoring the cathedral building, renewing its sacred spaces and constructing a new Heritage Learning Centre. The project will transform the life and work of the Cathedral into the future, which is tremendously exciting.”
Focus have a track record of delivering Heritage and Cultural projects, working closing with organisations that have limited resources and experience of capital works, and which have received funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and other funding sources.
Project moves into next stage
Tuesday 14 April 2020
With Local Authority Planning Consent having now been granted for the new Heritage Learning Centre, the Leicester Cathedral Revealed project has moved to the next stage, known as RIBA Stage 4. This involves detailed technical design and will be led by van Heyningen & Haward Architects working in close collaboration with the other members of the design team, including Price and Myers (civil and structural engineers), Martin Thomas Associates (mechanical and electrical engineers), Etude (sustainability engineers), Light Perceptions (lighting design) and Haley Sharpe Design (exhibition / interpretation design).
This stage will also develop and co-ordinate the production information and tender documentation needed to procure a single main contractor, hopefully later in the year.
Fundraising continues on all fronts to secure the significant funds still needed to start building and construction work. The project has received generous support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, charitable trusts and foundations and local individuals and organisations.
Simon Bentley, Project Director for Leicester Cathedral Revealed said, “It’s encouraging to see the project moving to the next stage and it’s fortunate that this detailed technical design work can be done despite the very challenging and difficult current conditions caused by coronavirus. We’re getting closer to realising our vision of transforming the Cathedral’s ability to serve wide audiences – both in its mission and ministry and as a heritage attraction.”
March 2020 Newsletter
From the Sub-Dean, The Revd Canon Alison Adams
I am delighted to be sending the latest news on the Dean’s behalf – as many of you may already know, David is currently unwell and will be off work for a few weeks more. We look forward to welcoming him back when he’s ready. Please hold him in your prayers.
I’m pleased that the first newsletter of 2020 brings good news – Leicester City Council have now granted planning permission for a few design amendments required by the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England to the Heritage Learning Centre. This now opens the door to move through to RIBA stage 4 (where the design work is completed). We are delighted that all bodies – including Chapter and Project Board – are now happy with the designs! We are also delighted to have reached a point where we can start to explore the detail in terms of fine-tuning project costs and finishings as well as look forward to seeing some more detailed drawings to share with you.
NEW PROJECT DIRECTOR TAKES UP THE REINS
Simon Bentley, Project Director, has now been in post since the start of December, bringing with him a whole raft of experience in developing and delivering community-based initiatives. Simon joins us from his previous post as Director for the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. He has, of course, come in at the deep end, but has proved his worth many times over already. Simon tells us that ‘this project clearly means so much to the communities of Leicester and Leicestershire and I am so proud to be given the role of driving it through to completion.’
We are planning to start work this autumn on repairing and restoring the Cathedral and constructing the Heritage Learning Centre and completing building works by the end of 2022. This is a very complex undertaking and things might change a little as we move into RIBA Stage 4, so we’ll update you when we next write.
Thank you for your continued support.
The Revd Canon Alison Adams, Sub-Dean of Leicester
October 2019 Newsletter
From the Dean, The Very Revd David Monteith
So much has happened since our last newsletter it becomes hard to keep pace with the changes – all of which are positive. You will no doubt have read in the media about the £800,000 donation from The Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Foundation in memory of its wonderful and much-missed founder. This gift has come at such an important time for us and is – if I may say – a game changer!
So, where are we now?
We have received a Round 2 Pass from what we now call the National Lottery Heritage Fund which means that their £3.3m grant is now confirmed. This autumn we are going back to the planners for some final fine-tuning. We plan to go on site in summer 2020. And as far as fundraising is concerned, we have just over £2million left to raise – of which £1million we need to raise from Leicester and Leicestershire. We have made huge progress but the challenge isn’t over. Not yet.
I’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Pete Hobson, who has worked tirelessly on this project, on the reinterment of Richard III project on Cathedral Gardens and on St Martins House. We couldn’t have done any of these incredibly important projects without him. While I am sad to see him go, he will be coming back from time to time, and I know you will all join with me in wishing him every happiness in this new phase of his life.
Of course, we can’t do without a project director and so it gives me great pleasure to announce our new colleague Simon Bentley, who will be joining us this December from the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. Simon, who has been a regular visitor to the Cathedral over the past 5 years and holds it dear, brings with him a wealth of strategic and director level experience of capital projects and public engagement. His input into the project at such a critical time in its development, will be very welcome.
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Foundation makes major donation to Leicester Cathedral
Monday 9 September 2019
The Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Foundation is to support the restoration and renewal project, Leicester Cathedral Revealed, with a grant of £800,000.
In announcing this grant, Leicester City Chief Executive Susan Whelan said: “The Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Foundation is very proud to support the restoration of Leicester Cathedral – an asset of great value to people of all faiths in our multicultural city. Since its formation, the Foundation has aimed to support causes that make a difference to the lives of people in Leicester – an objective we remain wholly committed to in the delivery of Khun Vichai’s legacy.”
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha first supported the Cathedral with a grant in 2014 towards the reinterment of Richard III and, since then, the Football Club and the Cathedral have worked together supporting the communities in and around the city.
The Very Revd David Monteith, Dean of Leicester, welcomed this support with delight, saying “This is such a transformational gift. Khun Vichai was so supportive of so many important causes in Leicester and it is heartwarming to see the Foundation continue his legacy. I believe this donation sends out a strong message that this is a project which will benefit all our communities because it will enhance the individual experience of being within the Cathedral – whether you come as a visitor, a pilgrim or a worshipper. We now have £2.3m left to raise and this support has given us confidence that we will reach that target.”
Cathedral Revealed secures full grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Tuesday 14 May 2019
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.
City planners give Leicester Cathedral Revealed building the go ahead
Wednesday 20 January 2019
Leicester City Council has given planning permission to the Cathedral’s plan for a renewal and new build project to create a Heritage Learning Centre beside the main building.
In December 2018, a formal application was lodged with the National Lottery Heritage Fund for a grant towards the £11.3m project cost of the Leicester Cathedral Revealed project.
The project will see the restoration of the Cathedral building together with the creation of the new Heritage Learning Centre on the site of the former Song School, which adjoins the Cathedral and is now used mostly for storage.
Plans for the new two-storey stone building include terracotta and glass features, and have already been approved by the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England and the Leicester Conservation Advisory Panel. Historic England raised some issues with some of the design but did not object to the overall plan, and at Leicester City Council Planning Committee meeting on 19 February, the plans were approved by all the councillors except for one, who abstained.
The Cathedral will now work closely with Historic England and other agencies on details of the new building to address matters of detail.
The Dean of Leicester, The Very Revd David Monteith said: “This project will transform what we will be able to do. The restoration of the building will enhance the spiritual and cultural experience of being in the Cathedral. The Heritage Learning Centre will allow us to protect the historic setting of the Cathedral, while engaging with many more communities through exciting interpretation and learning facilities. It will also help us to cater for the increasing numbers of visitors the City has welcomed since the reburial of King Richard III.”
It is hoped the National Lottery Heritage Fund will approve its full grant of £3.3m this spring and then work can start on this transformational project for our Cathedral, serving the people of Leicester and Leicestershire as well as visitors from further afield.
It is expected that contractors might be on site by early in 2020 and the project will be completed in 2022.
Leicester Cathedral Revealed moves further forward
Monday 7 January 2019
In the last few days Leicester Cathedral has taken two big strides towards delivering its visionary renewal and new build project, Leicester Cathedral Revealed.
Last week a formal application was lodged with the Heritage Lottery Fund for its full grant towards the £11.3m project cost. The money will fund the restoration of the cathedral building together with the creation of a new Heritage Learning Centre, boldly conceived in stone, terracotta and glass, to be built in Cathedral Gardens.
And this week, a planning application for the project was submitted to Leicester City Council and also to the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England.
The Dean of Leicester, The Very Revd David Monteith said: “This project will transform what we will be able to do. The restoration of the building will enhance the spiritual and cultural experience of being in the Cathedral. The Heritage Learning Centre will allow us to protect the historic setting of the Cathedral, while engaging with many more communities through exciting interpretation and learning facilities. It will also help us cater for the increasing numbers of visitors the City has welcomed since the reinterment of King Richard III.”
The decisions on both submissions are expected by spring 2019. If approved, fundraising will continue throughout 2019 and it is expected the contractors will be on site before the end of next year. The Heritage Learning Centre is scheduled for completion by mid-2021 and the restoration of the Cathedral in 2022.
Leicester Cathedral reveals outline plans for new development
Wednesday 6 June 2018
Proposals for the most significant building development of Leicester Cathedral for at least 80 years are being published today and are open for public comment.
A new Heritage Learning Centre, on four levels, two above ground and two below, is planned for one corner of the Cathedral Gardens. In addition, major repairs and renovations to the main building are scheduled to take place. The proposals form part of the £11.3m Leicester Cathedral Revealed project, which has secured the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and is currently in its development stage. They will form the basis of plans to be submitted over the summer to local planners and the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England.
Since the reinterment of King Richard III in March 2015, visitor numbers to Leicester’s Cathedral have jumped ten-fold from 20,000 to over 200,000 a year, making it one of the City and County’s major tourist attractions. An independent assessment conducted by the University of Wolverhampton calculated that the Cathedral currently makes an annual contribution to the local economy of £8.7m. The team calculate that the Leicester Cathedral Revealed project will significantly increase the figure to £15m a year.
The Dean of Leicester, The Very Revd David Monteith said: “Nowadays we welcome very many visitors to our Cathedral, coming for many reasons, both spiritual and otherwise. We want to give every visitor the proper welcome they deserve, and to be able to tell the stories of our city and our faith in ways which are accessible to as many as possible.”
The Revd Pete Hobson, the Cathedral’s Project Director, said: “Our plans are developing well, but there is still a way to travel. Now we would really like to give the public a chance to have their first look and tell us what they think. We’ll be listening carefully to every comment.”
The last major building work at the Cathedral took place in the 1930s when some vestries were added to St Martin’s. Everyone is welcome to come and see the display of plans in the Cathedral. They are on view at all times the Cathedral is open for general visiting, between 9am and 6pm daily from Wednesday 6 June for five days.
Leicester Cathedral contributes nearly £9m a year to local economy
Thursday 12 October 2017
Leicester Cathedral contributes £8.7m annually to the local economy, a figure that is likely to rise to £15m over the next 6 years, as ambitious redevelopment plans for the Cathedral are completed.
The figure is made up of £6m directly related to the Cathedral, and a further £2.7m from the indirect impact of visitors additional spending in the city and beyond. The startling results are part of an independent assessment conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Wolverhampton. It was carried out as part of the Cathedral’s £11.3m redevelopment project Leicester Cathedral Revealed, which gained support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for its development phase earlier this year.
“Leicester Cathedral aspires to be a beating heart for city and county,” said the Dean of Leicester, The Very Revd David Monteith. “We do this in many ways, through prayer and worship, through service to the vulnerable, and as a place of gathering for many. What this report establishes is how much we also contribute in economic terms.”
The research behind the report, which was launched last night (Wednesday 11 October) at an event in the Cathedral, was carried out earlier in the summer. Interviews were conducted with over 1,000 visitors to the Cathedral. The team also carried out research into the local economy, and consulted managers of other local tourist attractions.
Dr Peter Robinson, who led the research survey work said, “’This has been a really interesting project – not just in terms of understanding the economic impact of the Cathedral, which is significant, but also the opportunity to consider the importance of the discovery of King Richard III on the economic development of the City’ ”
The Cathedral received 198,000 visitors in 2016. Slightly under half of the visitors came from beyond the county of Leicestershire, with 1 on 10 coming from overseas. Just under 1 in 3 live in the county and 1 in 4 come from the city itself.
Leicester Cathedral redesign collects national architecture award
22 June 2017
Leicester Cathedral’s King Richard III redesign project, “with Dignity and Honour” has been named as one of the top “best new buildings in the UK”.
The award, made by Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), was given to van Heyningen and Haward Architects and architect Josh McCosh.
The project, which delivered the first stage of the re-ordering of the city’s Cathedral and the new tomb for the remains of King Richard III, is included in a list of 49 notable new buildings in the country. It is a list which includes the Tate Modern’s Blavatnik Building on Bankside in London and the British Airways i360, dubbed as the world’s first “vertical pier”, in Brighton.
“The reinterment of King Richard III in March 2015 was an event of national significance and international interest and continues to bring Leicester Cathedral to the attention of tens of thousands of people every year,” says the Dean of Leicester, The Very Revd David Monteith. “The relationships formed with Josh and his team at vHH were integral to the success of the project. So we are thrilled that this award recognises the excellence of the design and craftsmanship involved. We are now responding to the fresh challenges and opportunities this has brought for our core mission as a place of faith and hope in an increasingly fractured society.”
“The challenge of completing the work within the short timescale allowed was substantial,” says award-winning architect Josh McCosh. “It is testament to the positive teamwork developed with the Cathedral and all involved that the quality of the project is so high, and that it has had such a transformative effect on the Cathedral and the surrounding area. We are delighted that the efforts have been recognised by this National RIBA award.”
Since the reburial of King Richard III, general visitor numbers to the Cathedral have leapt tenfold to over 150,000 a year and it has just been awarded a 2017 Certificate of Excellence, by Trip Advisor, based on the consistently great reviews.
Recently the Cathedral was able to announce an ambitious second stage of its redevelopment. Aided by a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant, its £11.3m Leicester Cathedral Revealed (LCR) project will build on the success of 2015. The Cathedral plans to restore and celebrate the Victorian and Arts and Crafts elements of the building and will also be developing a striking new heritage learning centre on its site.
Leicester Cathedral Revealed wins National Lottery support
Monday 15 May 2017
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has today endorsed the ambitious £11.3m project Leicester Cathedral Revealed with earmarked National Lottery funding of £3.325 million. This includes a development grant of £330,000 to take forward the restoration and renewal plans to restore and renew the Cathedral as an important cultural and faith gathering point in the multi-cultural city of Leicester.
Made possible by National Lottery players, the award will enable the Cathedral, which contains the final resting place of King Richard III, to undertake development work on a transformative project to renew and restore its fabric and to celebrate the Victorian and Arts & Crafts elements of its long history.
It will also shine more light on the two thousand year story of Leicester through the creation of a striking new heritage learning centre and the expansion of an already thriving volunteer and learning programme.
Commenting on the award, the Dean of Leicester, The Very Revd David Monteith, said: “We are delighted the HLF is supporting Leicester Cathedral Revealed. Our Cathedral aspires to be a beating heart to both city and county. These funds will help us tell more of the story of our multi-cultural city through the eyes of its principal church and those who have worshipped here across the years. In particular, we will be able to uncover and share the narrative of the industrial prosperity of the Victorian era and the beautiful workmanship of the Arts and Crafts movement. We look forward to getting started.”
A further £3m has been earmarked by the HLF and a further application will need to be made within two years to release it.
To mark the announcement the Dean will unveil a full-scale visual representation of the project at a short ceremony at 9.30am Monday 15 May in Cathedral Gardens.
Leicester Cathedral Revealed hopeful of HLF support
24 November 2016
Leicester Cathedral’s hopes of receiving a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant towards its £11.3m Leicester Cathedral Revealed (LCR) project remain high after the HLF has encouraged us to reapply at the first opportunity.
It had bid for an initial grant from HLF to support and develop our adventurous plans. This first bid was well received in the autumn funding round when results were announced in late November, but there was strong competition at a national level for these funds, and the project was not able to be supported this time around.
“We believe we have a strong application and have been encouraged by HLF to reapply for funding in the near future,” says Pete Hobson, Project Director of LCR. “We are very pleased with the feedback the autumn bid received, so we intend to turn things round very quickly and resubmit in the hope of securing their support in spring next year,” he said.
Leicester Cathedral Revealed will create a new Heritage Learning Centre. This will house exciting exhibitions which intertwine history and faith in the city across more than a thousand years. It will also allow the Cathedral’s archives and artefacts fully available to the public for the first time and be a venue for learning workshops and community groups. The project will also deliver essential repair work to the aging fabric of the Cathedral and upgrading its infrastructure and facilities.
Leicester Cathedral signals first steps towards £11.3m project
20 September 2016
Leicester Cathedral has submitted an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund in support of its ambitious project Leicester Cathedral Revealed. This project will put the cathedral building back into good order, celebrate its Victorian and Arts & Crafts heritage and create new exhibition, learning and engagement spaces.
The Very Revd David Monteith, Dean of Leicester, said: ‘This is a project that will reorder the Cathedral into a comfortable and inspirational place of worship and mission. It will also restore and celebrate the heritage of the Cathedral site which dates back to the Roman times, although the current building is largely the product of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These were times of great change, helping to shape the city into the socially-conscious, diverse and multi-cultural place it is today. We want to celebrate all of that and to open up the Cathedral’s rich history to even more visitors and pilgrims, from within Leicestershire and from further afield.’
The Cathedral has assembled an impressive team to deliver the project. The architects are Van Heyningen and Haward, and the project director is The Revd Pete Hobson, both repeating their roles on the reinterment of King Richard III. The fundraising board is chaired by Gordon Arthur, former High Sheriff of Leicestershire.
The Cathedral will hear at the end of November whether it has been successful with the Heritage Lottery Fund application and can proceed with developing and finalising its exciting plans.