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The Canterbury Journey will address the urgent restoration needs of several key areas of the Cathedral to conserve and safeguard this important part of our heritage.

The Nave and West Tower

The Nave was designed in the late 14th-century and recent inspections told us that the roof coverings were weakening and there were issues with water ingress and drainage. The Cathedral was carrying out a schedule of running repairs, but important elements of these structural components had reached the end of their life expectancy and a point was reached where the only solution was the complete replacement of these materials.

In addition to the structural fabric concerns, the stained glass of the north Clerestory windows was also in pressing need of repair. Loose masonry had been removed to make them safe, however, there was an urgent need to conserve and protect them.

The central part of the Nave roof has been repaired and re-leaded, seen here in June 2018.


Works on the main building include:

  • repair and re-lead of the West Tower, Nave and Aisle roofs;

  • repair and conservation of the West Tower faces, Nave pinnacles, parapets and flying buttresses;

  • repair and conservation of the Clerestory masonry;

  • repair, conservation and protection of the North Clerestory stained glass and ferramentas; and

  • access systems for future maintenance.

While these repairs take place, a safety deck has been installed across the ceiling of the Nave to catch any falling debris.

A feat of engineering in itself, the temporary safety deck within the Nave also serves the dual purpose as a platform for other work to be carried out on the hard-to-reach areas as well as allowing the team to study the roof in a way that hasn’t been possible in a very long time. 

Cathedral stained glass conservators have removed windows for essential work to be carried out on the stained glass and the opportunity has been seized to delicately clean the vaulting itself and the roof bosses – previously an area only reached with specialized mobile platforms.  

Christ Church Gate

Christ Church Gate is the main route into the Cathedral. In the past, unsuitable materials had been used to repair the gate and now these materials have reached the end of their lifespan and pose a safety risk to people passing through it.

The repair and restoration of Christ Church Gate, which will start at the end of 2020, will include the:

  • restoration of the external facades
  • repairs to the roof
  • conservation of the decorative heraldry
  • restoration of the vaulting’s historic colour scheme (polychromy)

The Precincts

The Precincts are the terrain through which the visitors pass as they make their journey to the Cathedral, but they are potentially also the place where interpretation and understanding begin. The south-west Precincts were fragmented and had no natural flow. The surface is also uncomfortable for those in prams and wheelchairs. The project will focus on enhancing the south-west Precincts, improving signage and creating equal access for all, introducing interpretation and bringing coherence to the site.

Weatherproofing, repair and restoration works to the Nave along with the conservation and protection of the stained glass of the North Clerestory windows, and improvements to drainage will leave the historic fabric of the Cathedral in a better condition. The landscaping works and enhanced access will provide better interpretation and explanation of the Cathedral’s historic environment whilst bringing harmony and coherence to the site with improved access for all.

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