CATHEDRAL chiefs are celebrating after the historic landmark was awarded nearly a quarter of a million pounds from the Goverment’s £1.57billion Culture Recovery Fund to help them through the coronavirus pandemic
Worcester Cathedral is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country set to receive a life-saving financial boost to help restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance on cherished heritage sites, keeping venues open and supporting those working in the sector.
The 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 staff to secure some of the Cathedral’s most valuable treasures that are stored in the Conservation Room and improve the unstable flooring and make improvements to the fire escape arrangements, as well as improve facilities for volunteers.
The Dean of Worcester, the Very Rev 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.”
Worcester Cathedral houses one of the most important libraries and archives of any English Cathedral and attracts visitors and scholars from all over the world. The library has been an integral part of the life of the Cathedral from the earliest years of its history.
It has collected manuscripts since the seventh century and now has the second largest collection of medieval manuscripts in any cathedral in the United Kingdom.
It contains nearly 300 manuscripts, maps, plans, drawings, books and archives dating from the 10th Century onwards and many still have their original bindings.
The library also holds many early printed books and music from medieval to Sir Edward Elgar, historical documents and ancient artefacts, including the will of King John and a 1225 copy of Magna Carta.
During lockdown, environmental conditions in the library deteriorated further, placing some of the Cathedral’s most important treasures at risk.
Therefore, the project will focus on delivering urgent repairs and fabric improvements to the rooms mentioned to protect them from water leaking in and dust.
This work is considered to be essential at this time because of the now significant risk to the collections.