Andrew Edwards has been Chief Executive of The Canterbury Cathedral Trust for just four months and is under no illusions about the enormity of his task as he leads the appeal to raise funds for the conservation of this wonderful place.
‘During the last five years, over £15 million has been raised to support the continuing work of Canterbury Cathedral; it is humbling to reflect on the great generosity of the very many individuals, trusts and foundations that have helped us. Now we must build on what has been achieved and show yet more people the wonders of this iconic place.’ said Andrew.
‘The Cathedral has been here for over 1,400 years and we want to protect it for future generations so they too can enjoy it just as we do, whether that’s to worship, visit, stop for a moment of quiet reflection or attend an event. It is a magnificent piece of architecture, breath-taking in its beauty, but it is also the heart of a community and we need to ensure that community continues to thrive.’ added Andrew. ‘All the work that needs to be undertaken at the Cathedral is both necessary and urgent”.
Like all English Cathedrals, Canterbury receives no support from Government or The Church of England and so is entirely dependent on the generosity of individuals and of grant giving trusts and foundations. Income received from visitor admission fees, retail, and other sources such as rentals contribute to the daily running costs of the Cathedral – currently estimated at £18,000 per day.
The aim of the Cathedral Trust is to support conservation, education, music and craftsmanship at Canterbury Cathedral.
Any building needs maintenance but when you are dealing with a building as old as the Cathedral, the work tends to be specialised and requires the finest craftsmen trained in traditional methods. One of the ways you can help is to sponsor an apprentice. It is a very successful scheme and at the recent Building Crafts College annual prize-giving, held at the Carpenters’ Hall in London, our 4th year stonemasonry apprentice Sam Matthews was presented with not one prize, but two. He won “The Worshipful Company of Masons prize for Outstanding Effort” and, (what was referred to as the ‘College Oscar’), the “Sir Bannister Fletcher Prize for the College Student of the Year”. As well as Sam’s success we were also able to celebrate Jake Wood, one of our second year apprentice stonemasons, who won the “Avery Knight Trophy for Best Performing 1st Year Stonemasonry Student”. It is worth noting that both Sam and Jake have been awarded silver medals in their class in national stonemasonry competitions in previous years. Of course the apprentice scheme extends across many areas that are necessary in the upkeep of the Cathedral and its grounds, including painting and decorating; scaffolding; gardening; electrical and carpentry.
Their funding needs include replacing the entire roof of the Cathedral at an estimated cost of £16million. With over 3,000 lead tiles the roof was last re-leaded more than 150 years ago, and the Nave roof, which requires urgent attention, is almost 60 metres long – longer than an Olympic sized swimming pool.
The Cathedral has over 400 square metres of the finest surviving medieval stained glass. Conservation work is carried out by our own stained glass studio – a world class centre of excellence. Much of this glass is now in urgent need of attention at an estimated cost of £2.8million. We are currently in the process of conserving the South Oculus window by moving the historic glass from the original iron frame into an exact replica. Colourless glass will be inserted into the original frame and the medieval glass will be housed a few inches behind. This will prevent any further deterioration by the elements and protect the glass while it still sits in its original position and for the purpose intended.
Music is a long-established tradition here at the Cathedral. The first boys’ choir was created in the 13th century and a separate choir school was founded in 1541. Boys join the Choir at eight years old and continue until they are thirteen. It costs £16,500 per year to educate each chorister and to provide musical tuition and board at Choir House. The cost of creating an endowment for Choristers is estimated at £2.5million
A major bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund is being prepared and during 2012 we will launch our campaign in the United States, under the patronage of President George H W Bush.
If you would like more information or to support our work please contact the Canterbury Cathedral Trust