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Lincoln Cathedral given £12.4m to boost tourism offering

By Paul Fisher

Lincoln Cathedral ENGNNL00120110718104016
Lincoln Cathedral ENGNNL00120110718104016

Lincoln Cathedral, the only cathedral on Historic England’s buildings at risk register, is being given £12.4m to pay for urgent repairs.

The funding will also pay for the creation of a new interpretation centre and a programme of activities to double school numbers and widen the range of visitors to the cathedral.

Lincoln Cathedral Connected aims to transform the Cathedral’s visitor and community offer.

It will undertake essential conservation works, including to the iconic West Front

The Cathedral’s West Front incorporates the Norman face of the original cathedral. Part of this is the internationally important Romanesque Frieze which is hidden by a protective covering. Lincoln Cathedral Connected will conserve this incredibly significant piece of early architecture, revealing it for the first time in 20 years.

Exchequergate Arch is a rare surviving example of a triple arch into a cathedral close. In the medieval period, the arch contained kiosks on the ground floor which sold tokens and souvenirs to pilgrims. This arch is the main arrival point for visitors to the Cathedral, but it requires extensive conservation of its stonework.

New facilities and relaxing open spaces will offer another dimension to the visitor experience whilst improving life in the historic heart of Lincoln.

This will be both virtually and through displays in the proposed new interpretation space. Capital work on the Cathedral and its grounds is required to create a welcoming and hospitable space. This is integral to the delivery of interpretative media, object displays, tours, activities and events developed to enhance the visitor experience.

Off-site interpretation will involve creating a cascade of visitor trails and travelling exhibitions emanating from the Cathedral, encompassing other heritage attractions and churches in telling the story of Lincolnshire. Working with a range of partners, these resources will allow visitors and residents to ‘join the dots’ and explore the amazing heritage of Lincolnshire.

New jobs in hospitality, education, volunteer co-ordinating and marketing will be available, as well as new posts created in the works department to deliver the capital work on the Cathedral.

The opportunity to create a new visitors facility presents as the Old Deanery has been vacated by Lincoln Minster School.

This property, ideally located to provide visitor facilities and facilitate opening up the North/Dean’s Green, has now been vacated by the school.

Dean and Chapter have made the decision to make the building watertight but to not rent it out, leaving it empty ready for conversion into our new visitor facilities.

The Cathedral’s history

Lincoln’s Cathedral and Castle were established by William the Conqueror in a brutish demonstration of control. Sitting together on the skyline, they are one of England’s finest surviving architectural examples of Norman power and dominance.

The ordinary people who built the Cathedral rendered in stone, wood, lead and glass this glorious church, whose symbolism and stories were understood by its medieval audience. Today we honour its beauty but have forgotten how to read this Gothic vision.

As one of the finest cathedrals in Europe with the lowest visitor figures, we must reconnect those who worship and visit with the secrets and stories of the building. A new Interpretation Centre, conservation of the West Front, improved landscaping and interpretation will achieve this.

Lincoln Cathedral Connected will connect our past with our future, reanimating the Cathedral’s stories, engaging diverse audiences and bettering lives in the process.


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