Scaffolding removed from Exeter Cathedral’s iconic West Front

Scaffolding removed from Exeter Cathedral’s iconic West Front

3rd September 2013

The final pieces of scaffolding will be removed from Exeter Cathedral’s West Front this week, after a £300,000 stone conservation project.

The five year project has involved cleaning, conserving and in some places replacement of some of the medieval and later stonework and carvings on the front of the Cathedral.

When the final pieces of scaffolding are removed on Wednesday this week, the public will be able to see the iconic West Front properly for the first time in five years, with the conservation work complete.

The Dean of the Cathedral, Very Revd Jonathan Draper, said the project had been a hugely important one, and part of the Cathedral’s essential maintenance.

“Caring for a building of this age, complexity and beauty – and one that is used every day of the year – is a continuing challenge. There will always be something to do, some part where age or the weather takes its toll and we will always be on the watch to make sure that catch problems in time. Exeter Cathedral does not just belong to the Church, it belongs to the whole community and it is our responsibility and our joy to hand it on to the next generation in good shape.”

Fundraising for the stone repairs came from the Exeter Cathedral Preservation Trust, the Friends of Exeter Cathedral, Devon County Council and also from income raised by admission fees into the Cathedral. 

Clerk of the Works, Damian Lawrence, said “The Cathedral is a very vibrant busy Cathedral Church with services every day with numerous events throughout the year and has several hundred thousand visitors. One of our challenges is always to aim to undertake the work in such a way as to minimise any possible disruption that would detract from the visitor experience. We always find visitors to the Cathedral are very interested in our ongoing conservation projects and are supportive of our work to maintain such an important and beautiful building.”

The West Front won’t be free of scaffolding for very long, however.

 Damian said: “Next year we are planning to undertake conservation work to St. Edmunds Chapel which is on the North West corner of the Cathedral which will involve stone conservation, glazing repairs and replacement of the existing lead roof which will necessitate access scaffolding although we are hoping to complete this project during 2014.

“We are very proud and grateful to our team of Stone Masons who are directly employed by the Cathedral on these projects who are able to undertake this skilled work to maintain and conserve the fabric. We are continuously looking to nurture and grow these skills through the works that are necessary in maintaining this level of preservation on the Cathedral for future generations.”

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