The Dean of Canterbury, the Very Revd Dr Robert Willis, welcomed supporters, local civic leaders, academics, and contractors at a ceremony on the 22nd February 2013 to commemorate the re-opening of the Archives Reading Room at Canterbury Cathedral. The reopening followed a major refurbishment of the building, including renewing the entire roof. The Albert Reckitt Charitable Trust donated £500,000 towards the cost of the work, and the reading room will now be known as the Reckitt Reading Room.
The Cathedral Archives closed at the end of January 2012 to allow the work to take place. The work was carried out by Cardy Construction and the project was overseen by John Burton, the Surveyor to the Fabric and William Roe, the Cathedral’s Director of Projects.
The old leaking copper was replaced by an insulated, Westmoreland Green slate roof, which will provide a much more efficient, longer lasting, roof structure. Internally, the lighting was upgraded and the wall and ceilings redecorated. A seminar room has been created for use by groups. New computers allow access to parish records and to other electronic resources.
After our year’s closure, we are delighted to be able to welcome researchers back to the Archives and Library Reading Room. The project has meant that our Archives building can provide the best possible care for our collections in the decades to come.
As well as holding the Cathedral’s own archives, dating back to the 8th century, the building houses the historic records of Canterbury City Council, of the Diocese of Canterbury and of East Kent parishes.