We have chosen the word ‘revealed’ to name our project of the restoration and renewing of Leicester Cathedral, so that it can be its very best as a place of worship, heritage, pilgrimage, hospitality, learning, sanctuary and celebration.
Leicester Cathedral Revealed will restore our Grade II* Cathedral - built on a Roman site and dating back to the thirteenth century - to its Victorian and Arts & Crafts heritage. In doing this, we will be putting the whole building back into good order and making it sustainable for many generations to come.
Leicester Cathedral Revealed is our £12.7m project to put the building back into good order, create more space for learning, better manage visitor flow and improve the individual experience of being within the Cathedral.
For this, we have taken our inspiration from our forebears in the Victorian and Arts & Crafts periods, who must have considered similar questions a hundred or so years ago and come to solutions that were right for their time.
It speaks to us of the industrial prosperity of the Victorian period - which the Cathedral reveals as a living story told in stone, fabric and glass. It tells of the pioneering spirit of reform - applauded by the church and exemplified by the Arts & Crafts movement. And it celebrates the convening power of the Cathedral - to reveal the Christian message and to promote compassion and peace in a city and county where all religions are respected.
Key works will include:
- Restoration and conservation of the stonework, windows and ceilings
- A new stone floor, level throughout, including energy-efficient underfloor heating
Leicester Cathedral Revealed will also create a striking new building alongside, where the Old Song School currently stands, which will protect the historic setting of the Cathedral and free up the sacred spaces for their original purpose.
Key features will include:
- An orientation area and exhibition gallery with immersive interpretation
- A flexible learning space for school children and community groups
- WCs, offices, lift and storage
We need to do this because the cathedral spaces are inflexible and inadequate for current and future use. The infrastructure - lighting, heating and decorations – needs to be upgraded. And the tenfold increase in visitors, who come to see the tomb of King Richard III, has made the need more urgent.
That is why we have decided not only to restore our Cathedral but to transform it.
Creating something new
The project will also build a new Heritage Learning Centre on the approximate footprint of the 1930s Song School, preserving the open space of Cathedral Gardens. It will be a distinct extension to the Cathedral with a confident contemporary appearance, contributing to the surrounding environment while remaining deferential to the historic building and its setting.
The Heritage Learning Centre will provide new hospitality and learning spaces, WCs, offices and storage, and a new Orientation/Exhibition Gallery. Immersive interpretation will comprise a mixture of conventional contemporary graphics and digital devices.
The cumulative impact will be protection of the historic setting of the Cathedral, enabling a full and more dynamic interpretation of its heritage, and freeing up the physical spaces so that it can function as a cultural venue without compromising the sacred spaces.
Layered interpretation and a more intuitive visitor route will explain the archaeology and architecture of the Cathedral, the history and purpose of the four chapels, the stories the windows tell and what happens in the daily life of the building. It will also contextualise appropriately the tomb of Richard III. The three primary interpretative themes will be: the Cathedral as a centre for faith and worship; the Cathedral at the heart of the Diocese and City; the Cathedral’s heritage through architecture and art.
The individual experience of being within the Cathedral (whether for worship or as a place of pilgrimage or a place of learning or of exploration or artistic and musical creativity) will be enhanced. There will be greater integration of the Cathedral with its precinct and the city, we will have a dedicated centre for learning and community engagement, and our Christian mission will be much strengthened.
Humphrey Contracting Ltd - An established Demolition and Site Clearance company
Messenger BCR Group, Main contractor for Leicester Cathedral
Specialists in high quality new build, conservation, repair and renovation.