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Major milestone in The Canterbury Journey

Major milestone in The Canterbury Journey

One year of The Canterbury Journey: A New Roof

Canterbury Cathedral is coming up to the end of the first year of the Canterbury Journey and we will be sharing all the progress that has been made so far.

Removing the old panels.

New lead panels on the Nave roof.







A major milestone in The Canterbury Journey has been reached as the first of the new lead panels are going on to the Nave roof.

One of the main aims of the project is to re-lead the roof of the Nave to make it watertight for the next hundred years and more.

Each lead panel, weighing an average 67kg (10.6 stone), was taken off the roof and re-smelted at a plant based in Leicester. The images below show the process – some of which is super secret!


Preparation of the sand bed – the exact mixture of sand and additives is a closely guarded secret.

The molten lead being poured onto the bed of sand.

The lead setting before being rolled up ready for dispatch.










While the lead was being worked in Leicester, timber repairs were carried out by Dolmen Conservation Ltd – a specialist carpentry contractor. Old rotten battens and other timbers were removed and new ones made from air-dried English Oak sourced from Kentish Woodlands.


The new oak timbers, sourced from Kentish woodland.








The white ‘tent’ that currently forms a temporary roof over the Nave will be peeled back after the winter to reveal the first section of the new roof, while work continues on the next section.


The temporary roof during construction, before the re-leading began.

In the background, the new timber ready for the lead. In the foreground, work has begun on the next section.

The view from inside the roof space with all the lead and wood battening removed.













The Canterbury Journey

The Canterbury Journey is a £24.7 million development funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (£13.8 million) and donations from private and charitable sources (£10.9 million).

As well as repairs to the Nave roof, the Cathedral’s West Towers and the Christ Church Gate will be repaired and restored.  The Precincts will be landscaped to enable better access and enhance their appearance.

Find out more about The Canterbury Journey here

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