A global fundraising campaign to finance an extensive conservation and development program for Canterbury Cathedral has been launched and £50 million ($93.4 million) is needed for urgent repairs and reconstruction on the historic building.
The Cathedral Trustees have been forced to act as the Cathedral is suffering serious damage through a combination of old age and modern pollution. If action is not taken now, the rate of decay and damage being inflicted on the building will increase dramatically with potentially disastrous results.
Urgent repairs are needed to certain areas of the Cathedral in order to avert them from being designated as health and safety hazards. Visitor access will become severely restricted as areas are cordoned off from the general public.
Fabric conservation is the most urgent priority of the campaign, with parts of the roof already leaking badly and elements of the masonry crumbling.
Vital repairs must be carried out on the buttresses to the West Towers in order to avoid eventual collapse and the tower roofs need re-leading to protect the bells and clock.
The mammoth task of re-leading the nave roof is another priority, as are critical repairs to the stonework, carvings and pinnacles on the Bell Harry tower.
Fundamental structural work within the North and South Transept roofs is also matter of urgency, and major cleaning and intricate repairs of masonry and flying buttresses are needed to the Quire, Presbytery and Trinity Chapel.
Conservation and protection of the stained glass and, in particular, the 12th century south Oculus window is also required.
An integrated conservation and improvement program of repairs has been approved ensuring the work is done in a logical sequence in order to deliver best value for money. It embraces an innovative and holistic approach towards the future survival of the Cathedral, which is the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams.
The program has also taken into account refurbishment of the organ and introduction of state of the art technological improvements to the Cathedral's electrical, audio-visual, heating and lighting systems which will significantly benefit visitors including the disabled and hard of hearing. These vital enhancements are designed to ensure that visitors will be able to take much greater advantage of the Cathedral as a place of education and learning as well as heritage and history.
Urgent repairs to the main Cathedral entrance, Christ Church Gate and the Choir House are also encompassed by the project. At the same time, the Cathedral Archives and Library including display areas will receive urgent repairs to the walls, parapets, copings, roof and tower.
"This great Cathedral is home for everyone in the Anglican Communion wherever they may be around the world," Williams said. "It is also a place of welcome where visitors from every continent, regardless of belief or creed, can come to experience this unique center of worship, of education and learning, of craftsmanship and heritage, of music and culture, and of friendship and understanding.
"I am delighted that the Trustees of Canterbury Cathedral are launching such an ambitious fundraising campaign to save this beautiful and sacred place for the benefit of present and future generations."
Allan Willett, chairman of the Canterbury Cathedral Trust Fund, said: "Canterbury Cathedral, which has survived for more than 900 years, is once again under attack. It is threatened by serious corrosion and deterioration caused by centuries of weathering and modern pollution, worsened by the limited repairs that scarce resources forced us to carry out following the wartime bombing.
"Despite its 900 turbulent years of history it is the next few years that represent its time of greatest danger. £50 million is a substantial sum and it will need the generosity of the global community if we are to succeed -- and succeed we must in order to protect Canterbury Cathedral for another thousand years."
Canterbury Cathedral Development Office
+44 (0)1227 865307
David Innes, Chief Executive
Shelley Nye, PR and Marketing Manager
Further information about Canterbury Cathedral and the fundraising campaign, including photographs suitable for print, are available at: http://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/fundraising