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Worcester Cathedral receives lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund

11 November 2020

Worcester Cathedral is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country set to receive a lifesaving financial boost from the government thanks to the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.

445 organisations will share £103 million to help restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance on cherished heritage sites, keeping venues open and supporting those working in the sector.

Worcester Cathedral was awarded £241,624 which, along with match funding from the Kildare Trust, will be used to carry out essential repairs to the Library, including the Ante-Library and Conservation Room.

This funding will enable us to secure some of the Cathedral’s most valuable treasures that are stored in the Conservation Room. It will also enable us to improve the unstable flooring and make improvements to the fire escape arrangements, as well as improve facilities for our many loyal volunteers.

The Work

During autumn 2019 the Library team started to report water ingress which appeared to focus around buttresses. Accordingly, an inspection was taken and it became clear that there was a significant issue with the roof and or associated masonry.

Repointing of the flashing and buttresses was conducted and whilst an effect was made, it was minimal with water ingress continuing during heavy and long periods of rain.

During lockdown, environmental conditions in the library deteriorated further, placing some of the Cathedral’s most important treasures at risk. Therefore, this project focuses on delivering urgent repairs and fabric improvements to the Main Library, Ante-Library and Conservation Room to address the water ingress through the roof and structure, unstable environmental conditions within the Conservation Room and dust. This work is considered to be essential at this time because of the now significant risk to the collections.

The Dean of Worcester, the Very Reverend Peter Atkinson, said:

"This funding is incredibly important as Worcester Cathedral continues to navigate its way through this uncertain and challenging time. Worcester Cathedral Library is one of the most important medieval libraries in the country. With this valuable support from the Government, we can continue to ensure its conservation for future generations to enjoy, protect the treasures stored within it, and support our valued team of volunteers."

About the Culture Recovery Fund

This vital funding is from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund - funded by Government and administered at arms length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Both funds are part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.

433 organisations will receive a share of £67 million from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage to help with costs for operating, reopening and recovery. This includes famous heritage sites across the country, from Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire to Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, Blyth Tall Ship to the Severn Valley Railway, the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincolnshire to the Piecehall in Halifax. The funds will save sites that are a source of pride for communities across the country.
12 organisations, including English Heritage, Landmark Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and the Canal and River Trust, will receive £34 million from the Heritage Stimulus Fund to restart construction and maintenance on cherished heritage sites to preserve visitor attractions and protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors in the sector.

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) has also been awarded a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund through Historic England. The AHF will use the funding to support charities and social enterprises occupying historic buildings to develop new business plans and strategies for organisations affected by the pandemic.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

"As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past. This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounceback post covid.”