A DCMS Cultural Recovery Fund grant of £640,000 has been awarded to Canterbury Cathedral for urgent works to the West Front of the historic building.
This generous sum – allocated by the Church of England and distributed by Historic England – will be used to restore the fabric and ensure the safety of the World Heritage Site, and improve the iconic view of the Cathedral that welcomes visitors upon their arrival.
The plan for the Cathedral’s West Front was originally established by Archbishop Lanfranc around 1070, and the West porch and window were completed by 1398 by master mason, Henry Yvele, who was also the architect of the Nave. The North West Tower houses the Great Dunstan Bell Chamber, which contains the Cathedral’s clock chimes.
Although some restoration has taken place since the Victorian era, time and the environment have taken their toll, and the masonry on the West Front is unstable. If we cannot complete the works now, further degradation will take place and we would need to limit visitor access. This project will complement other conservation undertaken through The Canterbury Journey, and make the most of the scaffolding already in place. Thanks to this funding, the West Front project will be largely complete by the end of March 2021, when we hope visitors will once again be able to fully enjoy this architectural treasure. The Coronavirus pandemic has brought many challenges, but this Government support will help us plan our recovery and safeguard Canterbury Cathedral for future generations.