'Topping Out' Ceremony for New Pinnacle Two Years on from Storm Arwen
Our new pinnacle is now proudly in place after the final stones were installed and blessed by the Interim Dean and Bishop at a ‘topping out’ ceremony. The ceremony marked the completion of repair works exactly two years to the day since Storm Arwen ripped through Worcester.
On 27 November 2021, Storm Arwen tore a pinnacle from the northeast corner of the Cathedral tower. The stone fell through the roof of the North Quire Aisle, damaging the 14th Century vaulted ceiling beneath.
The vaulting and the roof were repaired in 2022, and during 2023 the Cathedral’s team of talented stonemasons worked on designing and crafting a replacement pinnacle.
It’s been a long road as scaffolding has come and gone and repairs have taken place both inside and out, finishing with the final piece of the jigsaw, the new pinnacle!
The ‘topping out’ ceremony is an ancient tradition whereby the final piece of stone is placed, and the stonework is blessed by the Dean.Support Us
Three Choirs Festival 2024: What to Expect When the Festival Returns to Worcester
It’s always nice to have something to look forward to as we head into winter, and those living in or visiting Worcester next summer need look no further than the return of the Three Choirs Festival to Worcester Cathedral. The festival moves between Gloucester, Hereford and Worcester, bringing renowned soloists and national orchestras to the three counties and showcasing the best of choral music.
The festival has already announced the programme for the evening concerts, which will take place in Worcester Cathedral between 27 July and 3 August. With so much on offer throughout the week, highlights include Elgar’s The Kingdom, music from Holst and Stanford, and premieres of two new festival commissions from Nathan James Dearden and Paul Mealor. Taking the natural world as the source of inspiration, the programme also features Bob Chilcott’s The Angry Planet, Sarah Kirkland Snyder’s Mass for the Endangered and Respighi’s The Birds. Performers coming to Worcester include the BBC Singers, Anna Lapwood, and the festival’s orchestra in residence, the Philharmonia.
The full programme will be revealed in March, and will include daytime recitals, family events and talks, as well as a series of late-night concerts to round off the day. There will also be a lively Festival Village outside the cathedral, which will play host to local performers and food and drink stalls.
Tower Pinnacle Project
In the early hours of 27 November 2021, Storm Arwen tore a pinnacle from the Northeast corner of the Cathedral Tower.
The stone fell through the roof of the North Quire Aisle, damaging the 14th Century vaulted ceiling beneath.
The vaulting and the roof were repaired in 2022, but now the new pinnacle is being put into place.Find Out More & Donate
Community Loyalty Card
In October we launched our brand new Community Loyalty Card. The card is free of charge and those wishing to join can simply turn up, fill in their details and pick up their card from the welcome desk.
The aim of the card is to make visitors feel part of the connected Cathedral community, to ensure that regular visitors are not asked to donate each time they visit and to receive occasional and seasonal discounts and benefits going forward.
Daniel Parnell, Director of Learning and Welcome, said: “We want Worcester Cathedral to be a welcoming place for all of our visitors, whether they attend regularly, or just once, we wanted to do something to make everyone feel part of the Cathedral community, and also to offer discounts and benefits at certain times of the year.
“Our friendly team of hardworking Visitor Welcome Assistants are stationed at the main entrance to ensure that everyone who comes through the door receives a warm welcome. They also ask those who feel able to make a donation towards the running costs and upkeep of this magnificent building. These new cards will help them to easily identify first time visitors, who perhaps need more help and guidance to make the most of their visit and allow our regular visitors and worshippers to be easily identified too.
“We hope to see lots of people picking up their cards and really becoming part of our wonderful community.”
Everyone is eligible for a card, so if you love the Cathedral, do pick one up!
More Than 6,000 Attend Big Green Eco Family Fair
Our Eco Team was delighted when more than 6,000 eco-minded local folk attended the second annual Big Green Eco Family Fair on Saturday 7 October.
Part of the Eco Group’s ‘Living Gently on the Earth’ series – Free events, funded by the National Lottery, that aim to help us learn how to live more gently on the earth - The Big Green Eco Fair launched in October 2022, to a positive response, and has grown in popularity.
This year’s event was officially and beautifully opened by Worcester Cathedral’s Youth Choir in the Chapter House, with many different green groups joining forces to demonstrate the importance of taking care of our planet and of valuing the precious nature that sustains us all.
There were gardening groups with apple pressing, potted plants and cuttings, wildflower bouquets, wood whittling, fruit and veg, children’s activities with campfire storytelling and craft workshops. There were also edible and medicinal plant foraging tours in the Cathedral grounds, with a repair café, waste reduction advice and energy saving experts on hand. These were all joined by numerous environmental campaigning and special interest nature groups such as Greenpeace and RSPB to name just a couple.
The main crowd-pulling star of the show however was the ‘Worth the Weight’ vintage clothes sale in College Hall. Based in Sheffield, ‘Worth the Weight’ was founded in 2018 as a way of fighting fast fashion. The team travels the length and breadth of the country selling tonnes of quality vintage stock every weekend.
Lay Canon and Eco Group Member, Staffan Engstrom, said: “We were absolutely overwhelmed by the masses of people that turned out for our second Eco Fair! We were stunned and delighted to welcome 6,000 or more people, with 5,500 recorded through the Cathedral’s main entrance and many more directly through College Hall.
“A huge well done to the team who planned and managed such a lovely day and a big thank you to everyone who joined us to make it the incredible success it was!”Worcester Cathedral Eco Group
Interim Dean of Worcester Appointed by the Bishop
Following the retirement of the Dean Emeritus of Worcester, the Very Revd Peter Atkinson last month, the Vice-Dean, the Revd Canon Dr Stephen Edwards has been appointed as Interim Dean by the Bishop of Worcester, the Right Revd Dr John Inge.
Canon Edwards was installed as a Residentiary Canon at Worcester Cathedral in September 2019.
Canon Edwards said: “I am extremely honoured to have been appointed Interim Dean. Just over four years ago the Cathedral Community welcomed me as I was installed as a Residentiary Canon and I often reflect on how these past years have seen a great deal of change. One of those changes which I certainly didn’t foresee was my appointment as Interim Dean by the Bishop of Worcester. I started in this new position at the end of August and feel honoured to be taking this role for the months ahead. The retirement of a number of deans across the Church of England means that I am one of a significant number of Interim Deans – some are internal appointments like mine, others are external. The past four years have given me a good foundation for all that lies ahead but most of all I want to record my personal gratitude to Peter and to the Cathedral Community for their support and indeed continuing welcome.
“I am excited to serve the Cathedral, City and County over the next 12 or so months. Worcester Cathedral is one of England’s finest churches and is at the heart of a vibrant city and region. It is a privilege to be part of community of prayer, learning, and welcome and I look forward to the coming months working with colleagues, volunteers, congregations, and the wider community in ensuring the Cathedral’s ministry continues to be a beacon of hope and place of welcome to all.“
Stephen was ordained in 1996, serving first in the Church in Wales. He was a priest in the Diocese of Manchester from 2002 until 2019, initially Rector of the inner-city parish of St Agnes’ Longsight before moving in 2012 to be Team Rector of Wythenshawe. He was also Area Dean of Withington and the Bishop of Manchester’s advisor for liturgy and worship as well as the co-ordinator of the Manchester Estate Ministry Network. His interests include architecture, ales and a love of dogs!
It is Church of England procedure to appoint an Interim Dean to serve in the role until a new permanent Dean is installed. The appointment of a new Dean of Worcester is made by The Crown.Visit Us
The Dean of Worcester Retires After 16 Years
The Dean of Worcester, the Very Reverend Peter Atkinson, officially retired on Friday 25 August, after more than 16 years in the post, and 43 years as a priest in the Church of England. His resignation was accepted by Queen Elizabeth II very shortly before her death.
Marking his retirement, Peter said: “To have been Dean of Worcester has been the great privilege of my life. My family and I have lived in the centre of an historic city, and at the heart of a beautiful county. I have had a small share in the custodianship of one of England’s great cathedrals and been surrounded by a wonderful team of people. I thank God for all that I have learnt during my time here, and I will continue to pray for the Cathedral under the leadership of a new Dean.”
The Vice-Dean of Worcester, Canon Stephen Edwards, has been appointed Interim Dean by the Bishop of Worcester, and will serve in the role until a new Dean is appointed and installed.
A special Evensong will be held at the Cathedral at 4pm on Sunday 10 September, to mark the Dean’s retirement. All are warmly welcome to attend. The Cathedral’s Guild of Bellringers will also ring a full peal from 12-4pm to celebrate Peter’s time in post and all that he achieved during this time.Read More
We've Been Awarded the Trip Advisor Traveller's Choice Award 2023!
We're Visit Worcestershire Tourism Awards Finalists!
We're Dog Friendly!
We're paw-sitively delighted to announce that from Monday 17 July we'll be welcoming visitors’ four-legged companions through our doors (with a well-behaved owner of course)!
We love animals. Our annual pet blessing service has now featured on TV twice and our Christmas Eve crib service featuring live animals attracts thousands each year.
Therefore, we will be welcoming dogs both in our beautiful grounds and inside the building this summer.
We'd like you to help us consider whether this becomes permanent by following a few simple guidelines.
The Vice-Dean, Canon Stephen Edwards, said: “We’ve listened to our visitors’ feedback and have decided to trial a period throughout the summer where dogs are welcome inside the Cathedral for visiting.
“We cannot wait to welcome our four-legged friends into the Cathedral. Dogs are so important to so many of our visitors and bring much love and joy to their families. So, we felt it was only right that we welcome them into the Cathedral, where we hope our visitors will be able to enjoy the beauty of the building with their canine companions.”
By welcoming visitors’ four-legged friends, we hope to take the doggy biscuit when it comes to places to visit this summer.
We hope you like our new paw-licy and we're not barking up the wrong tree! We'll be listening to visitors’ feedback throughout the summer to decide whether this becomes a permanent arrangement.
Dogs are welcome to explore the Cathedral, and its grounds, during visiting hours (Monday – Saturday, 10am-5pm and Sunday, 1-3 pm).Dogs
£20,000 Music Trust Grant is Music to Our Ears!
We are incredibly grateful to have been awarded a grant for £20,000 by the Cathedral Music Trust to support the cost of singing tuition for our choristers for a year.
Samuel Hudson, Our Director of Music, said: "We are extremely grateful to the CMT for this generous grant, which goes right to the heart of supporting music at Worcester Cathedral. The grant will enable us to continue to provide the highest quality singing tuition to all members of our choirs and maintain a safe and well-resourced environment in which all our singers can give their best. We offer our heartfelt thanks to the CMT for their support of cathedral music here in Worcester, and indeed throughout the country."
The Dean, Peter Atkinson, added: "The best case for cathedral music is for it to be heard as widely as possible.
"The Coronation had the wonderful effect of bringing English choral music to the attention of the world, and every cathedral, on a somewhat smaller scale, is doing the same in our cities and counties. We are very grateful to the Cathedral Music Trust for its support."
The grant is part of a huge funding boost by the CMT for 26 Cathedral Choirs, totalling nearly £450,000 which has been allocated to enable choirs to expand their work with musicians and young people.
Thank you so much Cathedral Music Trust!!
Learn More About the Cathedral Music Trust
All Four Peregrine Chicks have Fledged!
- Mum: Peggy
- Dad: Peter (to mark the Dean's retirement)
- Chick: Penguin (we just loved the story of the person who misheard talk of 'penguin' falcons)
- Chick: Penelope
- Chick: Percie
- Chick: Mr Lazy (the male who took forever to fledge)!
- Since Mr Lazy fledged on Saturday the nest is now empty, so the livestream has ended.
A Milestone for Red Hill
A brand-new replica milestone crafted by our stonemasonry apprentice, Debbie Branford, has been installed at Red Hill; commemorating the Worcester Turnpike Trust, which charged tolls to maintain and improve 160 miles of radial roads between 1725 and 1875.
The new milestone was unveiled at a special ceremony on Saturday 20 May.
The aim of the project is to raise awareness of the historical significance of such waymarkers, especially with young people and those who are responsible for their survival.
The unveiling was attended by the new Mayor, Councillor Louis Stephen, who congratulated Debbie; noting the importance of the skills that she was learning, commenting that heritage is not permanent and our historic buildings such as the Cathedral, Guildhall and milestones require on-going restoration and repair; Debbie would be part of the future in keeping our heritage alive!
Milestones are classed as Listed Buildings. The new milestone also marks the WEG’s Wild about Worcester Way and the Worcester Civic Society’s Heritage Trail around the city. The unveiling ceremony was attended by representatives of a wide range of organisations, including The Milestone Society, the WEG and the Civic Society, as well as former and current councillors, Worcestershire Highways and their contractors Ringway, who installed the milestone. The event presented a valuable opportunity for these organisations to share local knowledge and raise awareness of the historic significance of these waymarkers.Stonemasonry
A Very Irreverend Evening with the Dean
6:30pm Tuesday 13 June, Worcester Cathedral
Join the Very Reverend Peter Atkinson, Dean of Worcester, for an evening of anecdotes and behind-the-scenes stories from the last 16 years at Worcester Cathedral.
An opportunity to hear the Dean’s tales before his final farewell on 10th September; join us for a wonderful evening of entertainment at this unique fundraiser in the nave of Worcester Cathedral, to celebrate Peter Atkinson’s service to the Cathedral and community of Worcester over the last 16 years.
Refreshments will be available in the Cloister during the interval, and we also invite you to join the Dean for a drinks reception in the Chapter House following his talk (limited tickets available).
Funds raised from the night will be used to support the Cathedral with ongoing preservation, conservation and running costs.
The Dean’s newly published book of sermons, A Way of Putting It, will also be available for purchase on the night at a special price of £10 (RRP £14.99). The book includes 50 of the Dean’s sermons, preached over the past 30 years, a foreword by the Bishop of Worcester, an afterword by the Archbishop of York, and an essay on the art of preaching by Michael Brierley and Georgina Byrne.Book Tickets
Join us to Celebrate the Coronation
A Service of Thanksgiving in Celebration of the Coronation of King Charles III, Sunday 7 May, 4pm
Join us for Evensong with a county celebration of the Coronation of HM King Charles III and HM The Queen Consort. All are warmly welcome to join us for Evensong.
Ring for the King, Saturday 6 May, 12-4pm
Worcester Cathedral Guild of Bellringers will ring a full-peal from 12-4pm as part of the national ‘Ring for the King’ initiative.
Coronation Art Installation, 5 May – 22 May
From 5 to 22 May, a Coronation themed art installation will be on display in the West Cloister.
Coronation Floral Arrangements, 3 - 9 May
The Cathedral’s Flower Guild will display beautiful Coronation-themed floral arrangements around the Cathedral from 3 May, and throughout the Coronation weekend.
The Big Help Out, Monday 8 May
Come along and meet our volunteers, from 11am – 2pm, to learn more about volunteering at Worcester Cathedral. Find out how you could help to enhance our visitors’ experience and play your part in preserving over 1,000 years of history and heritage.
Royal Tours, Tuesday 9 May at 12pm & Thursday 11 May at 2pm
Come and explore our royal connections through history.
Royal Library Tours, Monday 8 May & Tuesday 9 MayFind Out More
We're A Silver Eco Church!
We're delighted to have achieved the Silver Eco Church Award, by A Rocha UK – the Christian environmental charity committed to equipping churches and their congregations to care for the environment.
After achieving Bronze last year, the Eco Group has been busy working towards Silver, implementing a number of initiatives to improve our eco rating and involve the whole community.
The most recent of which, a rewilding project to create a wildlife habitat, has been picked as one of Co-op UK’s Local Community Fund causes for the second year running.
Last year the Eco Group was awarded National Lottery Funding for its ‘Living Gently on the Earth’ project; a series of community events, talks and workshops on caring for our planet.
Around 10, well-attended sessions have been hosted over the past year, including a vegetarian cooking demo, ethical investments, reducing and acting on waste and plastic, growing your own food, active travel, energy use and measuring and acting on your carbon footprint.
We also held a Big Green Eco Fair in the medieval cloister last October and look forward to making it an annual event for the whole community to come together and celebrate eco-friendly living.
Amongst other work, an Energy Assessment and Carbon Emissions Report has also been completed, renewable energy sources explored, rainwater collection facilities and bird-feeders installed around the site, annual wildlife and wildflower surveys implemented and composting facilities utilised. We have also been engaging with local MPs on a number of issues.Visit Our Eco Pages
All Creatures Great and Small: a service of blessing for animals, filmed by BBC's The One Show
We had a wonderful time at our animal blessing service on Thursday 30 March. And this year it was filmed by BBC’s The One Show for a feature which aired on Friday 7 April. We also welcomed back Pablo the Goat and his friends from Attwell Farm Park, who were up to their old tricks again!
It was a wonderful service to celebrate all creatures great and small!Pet Blessing Service
2023 marked the 1000th anniversary of the death of Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester (1002-16), Archbishop of York (1002-23) and revered uncle of St Wulfstan (1062-95).
His power influenced kings, directed laws and combatted Viking invasions.
We welcomed internationally renowned experts for two unique days of learning at the Old Palace, Worcester Cathedral, on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 March 2023 to explore the life of this fascinating archbishop.
Wulfstan was one of the most powerful bishops in the history of Worcester Cathedral, and left his mark on its library, lands and diocese. He was a major player in the turbulent politics of the reign of King Æthelred the Unready, influencing the King´s policy in combatting the Viking attacks which eventually overwhelmed the Kingdom. Under the conquering King Cnut, Wulfstan continued to guide national policy. He composed lawcodes for both kings and was a legislative innovator, protecting English rights. The road to Magna Carta starts with Wulfstan.
Ever wondered how many Christmas Carols are sung at the Cathedral each year?
Our stats have revealed a record Christmas 2022 when, for the first time since 2019, the community came together to celebrate the festive season with no restrictions in place.
More than 13,000 people attended services in the week leading up to Christmas Day. A total of 44 Choral Carols were sung and 56 Christmas Carols, with a staggering 235 verses echoed around the building.
Throughout December, nearly 50,000 people flocked to view the stunning Christmas Tree Festival in the medieval cloister.
This year saw more trees than ever, with 100 local schools, charities, businesses and organisations taking part.
We also hosted a packed programmes of Services, with 2,743 people attending Christmas Eve services. This year’s Crib Services featured even more animals than usual to delight visitors and share the story of the nativity.
More than 600 people wrote a tag to hang on the community Christmas tree, which is kindly donated by St Peter’s Garden Centre each year, or left a message on the virtual online tree.
The Revd Dr Robin Parry has been licensed to Worcester Cathedral as an associate priest with a remit for eco-spirituality, working to promote the Cathedral’s ecological mission, with a special view to exploring the intersection of spirituality, worship, and ecology.
Since 2018 Robin has worked as a self-supporting assistant curate in the Worcester South East Team, ministering across four parishes in the city.
Robin grew up in Merseyside and North Wales before studying for a BA hons in theology (Westminster College in Oxford) and an MA and PhD in Old Testament (University of Gloucestershire). He taught religious studies and philosophy at Worcester Sixth Form College (1991–2001) before moving on to work in publishing, first to run Paternoster Press (2001–2010) in Carlisle and then to be an editor for Wipf and Stock Publishers in the USA (2010–present). Publishing remains his full-time job. For a hobby he writes books and aspires to be a Doctor Who nerd.
Robin is married to Carol, a forest school teacher, and they have two daughters, Hannah and Jessica, plus a three-legged cat.
The Chapter is delighted to announce that HM The King has approved the appointment of the Reverend Kimberly Bohan as Residentiary Canon of Worcester Cathedral. Kimberly will also be Chaplain of St Oswald’s Hospital, the almshouse in the Tything, which is an ancient part of the Cathedral foundation.
Kimberly will work with the Dean and Canons, the Director of Learning, and the Librarian, to promote the Cathedral’s learning programmes and the work of the Library as essential parts of the Cathedral’s mission.
Kimberly grew up in the United States and moved to Britain after studying in St Andrews. She was ordained in the Scottish Episcopal Church in 2003 and served her curacy in Glasgow. She was a rector of Holy Trinity, Dunoon, with St Paul's, Rothesay, and St Martin's, Tighnabruaich; and then rector of St Mary's, Dunblane. Since 2013, she has been rector of the Waltham Group in the Diocese of Lincoln and has served as Rural Dean of Haverstoe since 2020.
Kimberly was installed at Evensong at 5.30pm on Friday 27 January 2023.
For the first time since Storm Arwen, Worcester Cathedral’s quire organ was back in action in time for the Gala Anniversary Recital, on 21 January, having been postponed from October 2022, due to the organ being out of action.
Our popular lunchtime recital series has also recommenced, following a break to accommodate repair works to damage caused by Storm Arwen in November 2021.
Saturday, 26 November, marks one year since Storm Arwen caused extensive damage to the Cathedral when part of a pinnacle from the tower fell through the roof.
12 months later, repair works near completion and the new pinnacle, crafted by the Cathedral’s own team of stonemasons, is taking shape.
The pinnacle will commemorate both the Late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the Coronation of King Charles III in 2023. It incorporates all of the home nations, featuring a lionhead with a crown for England, a unicorn for Scotland, a dragon for Wales and shamrocks for Northern Ireland.
Since the storm, repairs have taken place on the roof and vaulting that were damaged, more than 3,500 pipes have been removed, cleaned and restored in the quire organ, dust has been cleared (several times) and adjustments have been made to keep the Cathedral operating during this lengthy period of repair.
The Dean, Peter Atkinson, said: “We are very happy to report that work is now nearing completion. It is with great pleasure that we are able to return to the quire for the Sunday morning eucharist on Advent Sunday and to have the Cathedral and quire organ back in action in time for Christmas."
Our famous Bourdon Bell tolled for 30 minutes as we joined others across the globe to #RingOutforClimate on the eve of the COP 27 Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh. The initiative started in 2021 and saw over 1,000 church bells around the world ringing out their warning to world leaders about the climate crisis. We were proud to once again sound our Bourdon Bell in warning and solidarity in support of climate justice 🌎
On Sunday 6 November Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service carried out one of its biggest training exercises in recent years, using the Cathedral as a venue. Worcester Cathedral is one of the biggest and most historic major landmarks in the area and it is important that necessary planning for major incidents takes place. HWFRS carried out a ‘dry run’ of a portable high-volume water pump which draws water from the River Severn up to the Cathedral. HWFRS also helped us in actioning our Salvage Plan in the event of a major incident. The Dean of Worcester, the Very Reverend Peter Atkinson, said: “It is very important for historic landmarks like the Cathedral to be prepared for all eventualities. The Cathedral and its famous Library house very important books and archives (some of them Saxon), as well as other historic artefacts, portraits, and monuments (including two royal tombs). “It is obviously our hope that the training carried out as part of this exercise will never need to be put into practice, but it is equally important that we prepare for any such incidents and ensure that we protect our visitors, staff and the important historical items in our care. “We were extremely happy to provide a venue to assist the fire service in its training in the use of the high-volume water pumps, as the closest major building to the River Severn, which could one day prove vital should a major incident occur.”
Pablo the goat delighted TikTok users after a video of his antics at our Animal Blessing Service racked up over 2.5 million views! This year's service was filmed by BBC Songs of Praise for a feature which will air on 20 November in an episode designed to celebrate and give thanks for the way animals can enhance our lives. The feature is presented by the Reverend Kate Bottley, a great animal lover herself. The service is a celebration of our beloved pets, and was conducted by the Precentor, Canon John Paul Hoskins. Canon Hoskins said: “We were so pleased to be able to hold our pet blessing service once again this year. “Animals make such a difference in our lives; they are part of our families, there for us in good times and bad and give us unconditional love. Many people take great pleasure in the companionship of a pet. And for those who have suffered and are grieving, pets can bring great comfort to their owners."
The Dean of Worcester, Peter Atkinson, said:
“We are all deeply saddened by the death of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, monarch for the whole of the lives of most of us. We give thanks to God for her life of selfless and unstinting service, to which she dedicated herself at her Coronation. We give thanks too for her inspiring Christian witness. We pray for the Royal Family in their time of grief, and especially for our new King and Queen. As at so many times in the history of our City and County down the centuries, we welcome all people to come to Worcester Cathedral to give thanks, to mourn, to remember, to reflect, and to pray for God’s blessing on the new reign.
“GOD SAVE THE KING!”
A dramatic sound and light installation that takes visitors on a journey of scientific discovery is visited the Cathedral in September.
The SCIENCE event saw the interior of the majestic building transformed to take visitors on a journey of exploration and intrigue.
Created by award winning artistic duo ‘Luxmuralis’ – made up of sculptor Peter Walker and composer David Harper - sound and light art was projected onto the stunning architectural features within the Cathedral and visitors enveloped with bespoke music as they made their way through the breath-taking installation.
SCIENCE was designed to explore and contemplate the contributions of science and human understanding of the physical world around us.
The artwork examined Chemistry and Biology and interpreted artistically the scale of molecules, cells and DNA, as well as exploring the history of science, the contributions of science to humanity, and offers a reflection upon famous scientists past and present.
The artwork also respects the sacred space it is viewed within and offers contemplation of religion and science together within the Cathedral, offering reflection on the ways in which science and religion neither prove nor disprove the other; exploring how wisdom and beauty both serve to kindle our imaginations and enlarge our capacity for wonder.
Visitors hear bespoke filmic arrangements, composed and produced by David Harper, that capture the visuals and invigorate the senses. The artwork and visual imagery are created by Artist Peter Walker, who uses light as if painting on a canvas.
Paul Grime, who is 58 and worships at the Cathedral, joined the Eco Group earlier this year, after relocating to the city.
He is running the Worcester Half Marathon to raise awareness of the Loss and Damage Petition - an online petition for the creation of an international fund to redress the injustice of climate change, i.e. that those who contribute least to causing climate change suffer the most from it.
The Worcester City Run falls on Climate Sunday this year, and rather than asking for financial sponsorship, Paul is asking people to sign and share the petition.
Paul is passionate about social justice and climate change in particular and has volunteered as a speaker for the past 10 years with Christian Aid.
He has previously run the London Marathon in 2017 and the Edinburgh Marathon in 2019, in support of the charity.
In June 2022 Paul took on the voluntary role of Climate Campaign Organiser with Christian Aid in order to campaign about climate justice.
Paul said: “The aim of the petition is to ask the Prime Minister to set up international funding so that those countries that contribute the least, but suffer the most from climate change, can have some redress.
“As part of my role with Christian Aid, in 2019 I was fortunate enough to visit Ethiopia where I witnessed first-hand some of the impacts that climate change is having. We asked local people what message they would send back to the UK, and they simply said, ‘please stop doing the things that cause climate change.’ It was quite sobering to hear their message. We all contribute to climate change, be it through driving petrol cars or using fossil fuels, and we notice it when the river floods, or we have a particularly hot summer. But for the people in Ethiopia, it really is life and death. They're so vulnerable because they have no buffer. When crops fail and they can't feed their livestock, their children die. We spoke to people in their 30s who told us how much the climate had changed in their lifetime.
“I’m very passionate about climate justice and the work I do for Christian Aid, supporting the charity in trying to eradicate poverty and changing social structures that perpetuate it.
“I hope that by completing the Worcester Half Marathon I can raise awareness and get more people to sign this important petition.”
The Vice-Dean at Worcester Cathedral, Canon Stephen Edwards, added: “In running the Worcester half marathon for climate justice, Paul is drawing attention to the ways in which our actions directly affect the lives of others across the globe, often in the most vulnerable places. Worcester Cathedral declared a climate emergency last year and we are committed to encouraging action and lifestyle changes to make a positive difference in the face of climate change. Christian Aid’s campaign highlights our inter-dependence and provides an opportunity to make our voices heard. Run well Paul!”
The petition has just over 7,000 signatures so far and you can sign by visiting www.christianaid.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/climate-change/loss-and-damage-petition
Repair work is nearing completion following damage caused by Storm Arwen in November 2021. Although the Quire reopened in April, it will be closed again for approximately two weeks, from 1-15 August, as internal works take place.
This means there is no access to King John's Tomb, Prince Arthur Tudor's Chantry and the misericords.
The King John replica, donated by the British Library, is once again on display in the west nave for all to enjoy, along with our popular King John touchscreen.
The repair works are now in their final phase. Over the summer months there will be a lot of activity as the vault repair is completed, the roof tiles replaced, and the cleaned organ pipes restored to their position. Whilst these various contractors complete their vital work the Cathedral may be noisier than usual, and we may need to change the visitor route on occasion. We give thanks for the skill and expertise of all those working on the repairs and all who support and maintain the fabric of the Cathedral.
Music and our choirs are an integral part of Cathedral life and after the difficult, silent years of the pandemic, it is joyful to be immersed in music and singing once again.
Many of you supported us through those trying times - and we are SO grateful.
As we look to the future the challenge is to raise enough funds each year to maintain our choirs, Cathedral organs and our world-class choral tradition.
In order to do this, we need your help...
The return of live music has been a collaborative effort and we are grateful to be part of such a supportive community. It was wonderful that our recent afternoon event to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Tomkins, one of my distinguished predecessors here at Worcester Cathedral, was so well-attended. I am delighted that we have much still to share with you, including our participation in this year’s Three Choirs Festival, our popular lunchtime recitals, and in September the start of another school year when our amazing choirs return to their schedule singing eight Cathedral services per week. The autumn term of course culminates in our Christmas Carol Services, which we know are a highlight of the Cathedral’s calendar for many, as they are for me!
Music plays a very special role here, and we continue to be enormously thankful for your support.
At the start of this academic year, I was privileged to lead a process of significant change to the chorister programme in order to present equal opportunities to boy and girl choristers in the Cathedral Choir. At the same time, significant step changes were made to the Cathedral Voluntary Choir, which was opened to all boys and girls from the local area, and we also created a brand new Youth Choir, the first of its kind at the Cathedral.
As we look to the future the challenge is to raise enough funds each year to maintain our choirs, Cathedral organs, and our world-class choral tradition. That’s why, today, I am writing to ask for your help - could you please consider making a donation to enable us to continue to sustain the music, singing and music education that enrich life and worship here in Worcester?
Of course, music is an important part of many strands of the Cathedral’s life, from our bells which ring out in support of the city during times of both sadness and celebration, to regular musical events, festivals and concerts featuring international artists, to performances by local musicians and school children. We are proud that Worcester Cathedral makes music for all and enhances the cultural life of the city and region.
If you would like to help ensure that music here at the Cathedral can be sustained, strengthened, and developed, then please consider making a gift to our Summer Music Appeal.
Live music is unparalleled in its ability to bring out the best in those performing, and to create a real energy and excitement for all those listening. I very much hope that you will be able to join with us at one of our upcoming events, services, or concerts. In the meantime, please accept in advance my sincere and grateful thanks for any contribution you feel able to make to support our music at this crucial time.
With all good wishes,
Organist & Director of Music
Matthew Hall has joined us from the Diocese of Bristol, where he has worked for the past 14 years, most recently holding the position of Deputy Diocesan Secretary (Finance & Operations).
Matthew will play a central role in delivering the Chapter’s strategy and plans, managing its day-to-day operations and nurturing its unique character and vision.
Matthew is a Chartered Accountant by background. He has previously worked at Bristol Cathedral and is also a trustee of a regional environmental charity. Matthew is currently studying for a master’s degree in Voluntary Sector Management with the Centre of Charity Effectiveness at Bayes Business School in London.
On being appointed, Matthew said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as Chief Operating Officer and to join the Cathedral at this exciting time, as we come out of the pandemic and with so many opportunities ahead. Worcester Cathedral is an outstanding centre of faith, heritage and community and I am very much looking forward to working with the Chapter and gifted colleagues to serve all those who connect with this unique place and its history and mission."
The Dean of Worcester, the Very Reverend Peter Atkinson, said: “Matthew has a wealth of knowledge and experience which make him highly qualified for the post of Chief Operating Officer, and we are thrilled that he is joining the Cathedral community.
“We are delighted to welcome Matthew and we wish him well in his appointment, and after several months without a COO in post, it will be very good to have him with us.”
We are delighted to announce that our Undercroft Learning Centre is once again celebrating award success after scooping the top spot in both the Conservation and Client of the Year categories in the RIBA West Midlands Awards 2022.
We're really excited to share the names of the peregrine chicks that hatched here at the Cathedral in April.
We received LOTS of fantastic suggestions, over 200 in fact! Thank you so much to everyone that sent names in, we genuinely loved them all. We've decided to honour both our wonderful Cathedral and, of course, the Jubilee year had to be marked, so please meet...
King John, aka 'Johnny'
Prince Arthur Tudor, aka 'Arty'
Earl Stanley Baldwin, aka 'Stanley'
and, Queen Elizabeth II, aka 'Beth'
The cheeky chicks are currently residing at the top of the tower, learning to fend for themselves and making lots of noise!
For the first time since 2010, four peregrine chicks have hatched at the Cathedral.
Earlier in the year, a mated pair of peregrines nested, producing four eggs successfully in a nestbox built by the Works Yard team.
The chicks hatched in late April and a team of experts from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has been monitoring them closely since.
Ringers from the BTO have rung the chicks, measured their wing spans, weighed and recorded them on the national database. Each colour ring has a unique letter code so the individual birds can be identified when seen in future as adult birds. Peregrines can live 15 and more years.
You can watch a video of the ringing below.
The chicks are expected to fledge at around 45-50 days old, so roughly around mid-June.
After 2 years of closure, the Tower can now be visited as part of a guided tour on certain Saturdays from April to October 2022 in fine weather, or for pre-booked group visits on other days (please see below).
The Tower had to close, along with the rest of the Cathedral, in March 2020 due to the pandemic.
So, we're really happy to be able to open it up once more.
Individuals can join a tour to the top of the tower on certain Saturdays.
Tickets can be purchased on the day inside the Cathedral at the Welcome desk, close to the main North Door (opposite the High Street).
Tours cost £10* per person and last approximately one hour.
Please arrive at least 10 minutes before the start of the tour.
Tours may use sanitised headsets to enable the group to better hear their guide. Tours are for people aged 10 years and over and each individual child must be accompanied by an adult.
Adult Groups can also pre-book a Tower tour by emailing an enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
These tours cost £10.00* per person and last one hour. An extended tour lasting 1.5 hours, costs £15 per person.
Tours for schools or groups of children can be booked by emailing and enquiry to the Cathedral Learning Team on email@example.com.
The Tower is the Cathedral's third tower. The first fell down in 1175 and the second was taken down because it was unsafe. The present tower was completed in 1374. The stonework internally is 14th century in date, but the exterior of the tower was re-faced in the 19th century as part of the Victorian restoration. The present tower was strengthened in the late 1980's/early 1990's, to ensure it is safe for the next 200 years. During the civil war in 1651, it was said that the future King Charles II viewed the Battle of Worcester from the top of the tower.
On a clear day there are spectacular views over the city centre, River Severn, County cricket ground, Pitchcroft racecourse, Malvern Hills and countryside beyond.
Head over to our 'Visit Us' page for more info!
After 800km and 20 days, Bishop John and H-J have completed their pilgrimage to Santiago De Compostela.
Bishop John has been raising money for the Cathedral, while H-J has been raising funds for the Trussell Trust.
Bishop John has raised a fantastic £3959.77 (£4552.04 with Gift Aid) for the Cathedral - 131% of his £3,000 target!
Bishop John said: "Cycling the 500 miles from the Pyrenees along ‘the Camino’, ‘the Way’ to Santiago has been an amazing experience. We were acutely conscious, as we did it, of the thousands and thousands of people who have made the journey before us. We were encouraged, too, by the very large number of present-day pilgrims from all over Europe and the world we encountered on ‘the Way’ today. It brought home to us the rich heritage of Christian faith we all share. That faith is first referred to as ‘The Way’ in the Acts of the Apostles. I pray that we may all be encouraged to continue on ‘The Way’, the way of life."
We are so grateful to Bishop John for choosing the Cathedral to benefit from his pilgrimage. The money raised will be used in the way he originally asked, to ensure the future of our wonderful Cathedral.
We’d like to thank Bishop John and everyone who made a donation in support of his pilgrimage.
Congratulations to them both!
An extraordinary exhibition of 12 enormous, embroidered silk panels that explore the story of Creation visited the Cathedral from April - June 2022 as part of its three-year tour to 16 Cathedrals.
Inspired by the poetic verses of Genesis, the first book in the Bible, textile artist Jacqui Parkinson re-imagines this ancient story in a vibrant combination of silk, hand-dyed materials, metallic leathers and gold leaf, miles of thread – and more than eight million stitches!
We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded the A Rocha UK Bronze Eco Church Awards.
Since its formation, the Cathedral Eco Group has been working towards the Eco Church scheme, and this is the first milestone on our journey to becoming an Eco Cathedral.
The overall aim of the Eco Church award scheme is to celebrate the ways that church communities have been engaging with caring for the earth as a key part of our Christian faith.
A Rocha UK (ARUK) is a Christian charity working for the protection and restoration of the natural world and committed to equipping Christians and churches in the UK to care for the environment.
Responding to the biblical mandate to care for the earth, and demonstrating the Christian hope for God’s world, working with churches and Cathedrals through the Eco Church programme.
Now onto Silver!
We are delighted to have been 'Highly Commended' at the Visit Worcestershire Tourism Awards 2022. Thank you so much Visit Worcestershire!
The Quire Reopened for Visiting on Monday 14 March
The East End of the Cathedral had been closed since November 2021, following damage caused by Storm Arwen.
We know how much you missed visiting King John’s tomb and Prince Arthur’s chantry housed in our beautiful Quire, so it is just fantastic that we can once again welcome you to enjoy our wonderful attractions.
We still have a way to go with repair work, and the rest of the East End will remain closed off for now whilst work continues.
Our friendly team will be on hand to welcome and direct you when you arrive at the visitor welcome desk.
The organ pipes have been removed for cleaning off-site and will be reinstalled, hopefully over the summer, so we will need to briefly close the Quire again to accommodate this. Services will remain in the Nave for now, but we will be sourcing a digital organ, with the hope of services returning to the Quire in time for Holy Week.
But for now, please do drop in for a visit and enjoy this glorious space once more...
We can’t wait to see you.
We're celebrating scooping a national award for architectural excellence!
In collaboration with Acanthus Clews Architects, the conversion of the former monastic storage rooms into the new Undercroft Learning Centre provides an innovative and versatile venue for learning and discovery for the whole community.
The Civic Trust Awards scheme was established in 1959 to recognise outstanding architecture, planning and design in the built environment.
In awarding the accolade, the Judges commented on the project: “A challenging and well resolved scheme, the project addressed complicated access to the vault, allowing it to be opened-up and appreciated by a wide audience. Technical challenges associated with archaeology, environmental conditions in the space and ensuring the former monastic refectory cellar maintained its integrity was a colossal task and one that has been expertly executed.”
Camilla Finlay, Director at Acanthus Clews Architects, said: “Receiving this award from the Civic Trust is so important because it is given to projects that demonstrate the highest level of building conservation - this is the level all involved in the project strove to deliver in the conversion of the scheduled Undercroft. The Civic Trust awards also celebrate accessibility and inclusivity which was at the heart of our work in creating a centre for learning in the Undercroft - to provide an invitation that we hope will reach new audiences to come and share the spaces and activities that take place within.”
Our Director of Learning, Daniel Parnell, added: “The aim of the Undercroft project was for the centre to play a decisive role in maintaining the education department’s existing status as a beacon of excellence in educational outreach and a model of best practice.
“We are hugely honoured to be given this award that recognises the uniqueness of the building and the excellence of our education programme coming together to offer a diverse space for use by the whole community.
“It is a brilliant achievement for all involved in the development and delivery of this project. Thanks to National Lottery Heritage Fund and other generous donors, a team of skilled crafts people have created a unique venue and we now have a space for inspiration and discovery, and we are keen to make sure everyone has the chance to use it.
“And thank you to the judging panel for their support in recognising the achievements in creating this space!”
On Thursday 3 March 2022 at 12 noon, the Cathedral's bourdon bell tolled for 10 minutes as an act of solidarity and prayer for Ukraine.
We asked that during this time everyone remained still for a moment of reflection.
We're really pleased to announce plans for fully reopening, following damage caused by Storm Arwen in November last year
During the storm on 27 November 2021, part of a pinnacle from the side of the tower fell through the roof of the north quire aisle.
Since then, visiting and services have been restricted to the nave and the cloister. The east end of the Cathedral has been completely closed, including the quire which houses King John’s tomb - one of our most popular attractions.
We have been displaying a scale replica of the ‘bad’ King’s effigy, previously donated by the British Library, in the south of the nave in recent weeks, but we're counting down the days until we can once again access the real tomb, as well as the chantry of Prince Arthur Tudor (older brother of Henry VIII).
Staff and professional advisers have been hard at work assessing the damage and we are now in a position to share an approximate timeline of repairs, leading to the full reopening of the Cathedral, it is hoped by the end of the summer.
The programme of repairs will comprise three main stages.
January - March
Scaffolding is currently being erected in the quire to facilitate the cleaning of the organ pipes.
The majority of the pipes will be removed (around 3,000 in total!) and taken off-site for cleaning to remove dust.
It is hoped that the east end of the Cathedral, excluding the north quire aisle, will be cleaned and reopened for visiting towards the end of March.
Work will also begin to repair the vault and roof, at the main site of the damage, which will remain sealed off whilst this work is completed. As a result, accessibility will unfortunately be limited to the east end, as the disabled lift and access ramp are housed in this area.
Once the scaffolding is de-rigged, the quire can be thoroughly cleaned and re-opened for services; a temporary digital organ will be installed in the interim.
April - August
When repairs to the vault are complete, scaffolding will once again be erected and the organ pipes reinstalled, resulting in the quire again becoming inaccessible for a short time to facilitate this work.
The third part of the repair work is the carving of the new pinnacle; work which will be largely undertaken by the Cathedral stonemasons. The design of the new pinnacle is currently under discussion and we hope to engage with members of the community to produce a commemorative design marking HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year. It is hoped this work will be completed before the end of 2022.
The Dean of Worcester, the Very Reverend Peter Atkinson, said: “There is good news and bad. Although it is disappointing the repair work will take around six months to complete, it is not unexpected. With buildings of this age, it is the case that when things go wrong, there is no quick fix.
“We are hopeful to be able to stick to the programme of repairs outlined above. However, we are of course reliant on everything going to plan and nothing being thrown up along the way to stall progress. We are cautiously optimistic, advised by our team of experts and contractors, that we will be able to fully reopen the Cathedral by the end of the summer and once again welcome visitors to enjoy our many attractions and services.”
Meet our Carpentry Apprentice, Ewan Pollock...
Meet our Stonemasonry Apprentice, Debbie Branford...
The Revd John Paul Hoskins was installed as a Residentiary Canon and Precentor of Worcester Cathedral on Saturday 29 January in a special service of Evensong.
John Paul joins the Cathedral Chapter from the Diocese of Gloucester, where he was Priest-in-Charge of Winchcombe and will have particular responsibility for the Cathedral’s music and liturgy.
Worcester Cathedral currently has two Residentiary Canons. They are appointed by the Queen and are priests with responsibility alongside the Dean for the spiritual life of the Cathedral. They have day-to-day liturgical, pastoral and preaching duties. They take turns to be ‘Canon-in-Residence’ or duty canon for a week at a time. As members of the Cathedral Chapter, they share in the governance of the Cathedral and are trustees of the Cathedral almshouse, St Oswald’s Hospital.
In addition to these shared duties, each Residentiary Canon has a particular area of responsibility. The Precentor has the responsibility, on behalf of the Chapter, for supervising the liturgy and music of the Cathedral, and working with all those engaged in this important aspect of the Cathedral’s mission.
Among his previous posts John Paul has been a Minor Canon of Gloucester Cathedral and Chaplain to two Bishops of Gloucester. Before ordination he was a Lay Clerk at Guildford and Durham Cathedrals.
John Paul said: “I’m enormously excited to be installed as the new Precentor. Worcester Cathedral has a tremendous history of welcome and worship, with an outstanding musical tradition. I’m hugely privileged to have joined the Cathedral as part of a great community of prayer and praise to God.”
The Bishop of Worcester, the Right Revd Dr John Inge, says: “I am delighted with the installation of John Paul Hoskins as Precentor. He is a very gifted priest with a wealth of relevant experience. We warmly welcome him to the Cathedral community.”
The Dean of Worcester, the Very Reverend Peter Atkinson, said: “We are delighted to welcome John Paul as the new Canon Precentor of the Cathedral. With his pastoral and musical background, John Paul is highly qualified for the post of Precentor, and I’m thrilled that he has joined the Cathedral community.”
John Paul is married to Liz, who is a consultant ophthalmologist and who grew up in the Teme Valley, west of Worcester. They have a daughter Suzanna, who is 8 and the household also includes two border terriers.
A series of grants have been awarded to community-led projects that encourage everyone to get involved.
And our Eco Group aims to do just that! Made up of volunteers from the community who have come together to take positive climate action, the Cathedral Eco Group was instrumental in securing the funding; testament to their passion and commitment to climate action.
These eco warriors will be putting the money to good use and have a number of exciting initiatives to share over the coming months. So please, follow us, share and watch this space for details on how you can join in and stand #togetherforourplanet!
We are really excited to be finalists in the Visit Worcestershire Tourism Awards Large Visitor Attraction Category.
The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony at Stanbrook Abbey in March.
The damage caused to the north quire aisle roof by Storm Arwen overnight on Friday 26 / Saturday 27 November, though serious, is confined to the aisle and the hole in the roof now has a temporary, weather-proof covering.
The nave and cloister remain unaffected and the shop and cafe are open as usual.
Our team of experts has conducted investigations and we are working towards a programme of repair. We do not yet know how long the programme of repair will take, nor how much it will cost, but we do know that it will be several months and the cost will be significant.
The area of damage in the north quire aisle and the quire itself will be closed as our team works on temporary protections and cleaning of the local area.
The organ was not damaged during the incident, however we must safeguard and clean the instrument during the period of ongoing work, so we are disappointed to report that it too will be out of action for some time. We will continue to use our electric organ in the meantime.
A rope access team carried out investigations, and the Cathedral bells and clock chimes were silenced whilst these investigations took place. Both have now been reinstated.
The nave and cloister are safe and warm for visiting and services.
Once a frame to stabilise the vault has been installed, we hope to open the rest of the quire and the east end for services and visitors once more.
We are sorry to bring a mixed update, but hope that you will understand the difficulties we face over the coming months.
The Cathedral Reopened on Monday 29 November 2021 After Suffering Extensive Damage During Storm Arwen
The doors re-opened at 10am on Monday morning, with visiting and services restricted to the nave and the cloister, and the shop and café open as usual.
During the storm on Friday evening, part of a pinnacle from the side of the tower fell through the roof of the north quire aisle.
The Cathedral’s staff and professional advisers worked hard and fast to assess the damage and ensure the safety of those visiting the Cathedral.
The Dean of Worcester, Peter Atkinson, said: “A team of experts is on-site conducting investigations and making the affected area of roof water and weather-proof. The nave and cloister are unaffected and open and safe for services and visiting.
“The roof’s ribbed vault appears to have buckled under the impact but has not given way. This is a tribute to those unnamed masons who built the east end of the Cathedral in the thirteenth century.
“The damage, though serious, is confined to the aisle. The hole in the roof now has a temporary covering. A programme of repair is being planned and a rope access team have today been assessing the tower.
“Our plans for Christmas are, at present, able to go ahead, working around the new situation we find ourselves in.
“We do not yet know how long the programme of repair will take, nor how much it will cost, and it is the knock-on effect that we cannot account for. We have already lost income over the weekend and are sadly unable to release additional tickets for our popular Christmas Carol and Crib Services as we had planned to this week, as a result of losing capacity in the north transept.
“This is a terrible thing to have happened, particularly in the run up to Christmas. Whilst repairs take place, we will be operating under temporary measures designed to maximise our use of the building; but it will take time for us to be back to normal once more.
“We are grateful to still have the use of the nave and cloister and are so looking forward to welcoming the community to come together and celebrate Christmas with us here at the Cathedral."
We were delighted to welcome HRH The Duke of Gloucester to the Cathedral on a very bright and sunny Tuesday morning, 2 November
As the Chancellor of the University of Worcester, The Duke made the time, ahead of his ceremonial duties during graduation week, for a visit with Cathedral clergy and staff and Civic dignitaries and a tour of the newly launched Undercroft Learning Centre.
Dean Peter said: "It was a pleasure to welcome HRH The Duke of Gloucester to view the Undercroft Learning Centre. As a former architect, The Duke seemed very interested and impressed by the space below College Hall, previously the monastic storage rooms, which has been transformed into a vibrant centre for learning and discovery."
Worcester Cathedral among 142 historic sites across England to receiving grants worth £35 million through the second round of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund
We're delighted to have been awarded £328,794, which will be used to continue essential repairs to the medieval library.
The funding will not only help to secure some of the Cathedral’s most valuable treasures - including the will of King John and a 1225 copy of Magna Carta – but also enable us to enhance our environmental sustainability.
During autumn 2019 the Cathedral library team started to report water ingress to the building. A resulting inspection made clear there was a significant issue with the roof and associated masonry.
During lockdowns, environmental conditions in the library deteriorated further, placing some of the Cathedral’s most important artefacts at risk.
With support from round one of the CRF, the skilled team was able to fully overhaul and re-cover the roof of the ante-library and thermally stabilise the conservation room, which houses the most sensitive items of the collection.
Phase two of the essential improvement works to the main library means that they can now continue to improve the thermal and sustainable measures of the rest of the library; encouraged by the aims of the 2030 Net Zero Carbon Target set by the Church of England.
Funding through phase two of the CRF will enable us to: provide temporary protection to the library; re-cover the lead roof, improving the detail where possible; improve rainwater disposal locally and; install a latch-on man safe system to the roofs.
In addition, some of the high roofs needing urgent attention immediately above the library can also be repaired to prevent water ingress.
Emily Draper, Estates Manager, said: “I am delighted by the news that our plan for phase two of the library roof works has been supported and funded by the Culture Recovery Fund for Programmes of Major Works. This work will make such a difference to the health of the main library and ensure we are protecting the precious collection for the future. It is wonderful that we can repair the tiles and give the south transept and south slope of the nave some much needed love and attention too. I am excited for the project to start and looking forward to being able to clip onto our new safety system and tour the upper roof spaces!”
Worcester Cathedral houses one of the most important libraries and archives of any English Cathedral and it attracts visitors and scholars from all over the world.
It has collected manuscripts since the seventh century and now has the second largest collection of medieval manuscripts in any cathedral in the United Kingdom.
It contains nearly 300 manuscripts, maps, plans, drawings, books and archives dating from the 10th Century onwards and many still have their original bindings. The library also holds many early printed books and music (from medieval to Sir Edward Elgar), historical documents and ancient artefacts.
About the Culture Recovery Fund
This vital funding is from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund - funded by Government and administered at arms-length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Both funds are part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.
Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, said: "From local churches to ancient buildings and landscapes, the UK's unique heritage makes our towns, cities and villages stronger, more vibrant and helps bring communities together.
"This latest funding - £35 million from our unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund - will help protect sites for future generations and help them build back better from the pandemic."
Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive, added: “Funding from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund is hugely welcome at a time when the people and organisations who look after our vast and varied array of heritage urgently need support to carry out essential repairs. Heritage is a fragile eco-system, with an amazing cast of characters who keep our historic places alive, with specialist skills that take time to learn and experience to perfect. These grants will protect their livelihoods, as they use their expertise to help our heritage survive.”
Money from the Heritage Stimulus Fund will also keep our nationally and internationally significant heritage assets in good condition and sustain the skilled craftspeople that look after them.
Worcester's Bellringers Join nationwide Call for Churches to Ring Out Ahead of the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow
The Ring Out for Climate Change campaign is led by Edward Gildea, a Christian Aid climate campaign organiser, who asked churches to ring their bells as a warning of the climate emergency and to mark the start of the conference.
The Dean of Worcester, Peter Atkinson, said: “Here at Worcester Cathedral, we believe that today is a time of real national crisis and so, on Sunday 31st October our young ringers sounded our bells to warn the people of Worcester of the threat we face.
“Extreme weather events have already affected us in Worcester through flooding, and as Christians we are deeply concerned with the millions around the world who are being profoundly affected.
“We are proud to join this initiative to sound the alarm for climate justice, as we work towards our goal of becoming an Eco Church.”
The UN Climate Conference, CoP26, sees world leaders and delegates meet in Glasgow and work together to commit to a reduction in emissions to avoid a climate emergency.
It comes just months after the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change described global warming as a ‘code red for humanity.’
The bell ringing campaign was endorsed by the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, the CoE’s lead bishop on the environment, and part of the delegation in Glasgow.
He said: “Church bells have traditionally been rung through the centuries to raise the alarm for local communities. The recent ‘code red’ report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an alarm call for us all.
“I am happy to endorse a nationwide ‘ring out for climate change’ as a symbol of warning, but also of hope, that this conference will lead to action for us all, like Jesus, to tread more gently on our single island planet home and care more for those already adversely affected by climate change, especially in the economically poorest places on earth,” he added.
As well as this special ringing, Worcester Cathedral is carrying out a number of initiatives to show its commitment to the climate crisis.
During the COP26 conference, there will be a dedicated prayer space and prayers offered every day for the conference attendees; members of the Cathedral Eco Group and community will take part in an Ecumenical Walk of Witness through Worcester on the National Day of Action for COP26 (6 November), walking between local churches, offering readings, prayers and reflections.
Image courtesy of Ring Out for Climate FB Group
Visitors Journeyed to the Edge of the Universe... and Beyond!
SPACE is a spectacular internal sound and light show created by award winning artistic collaboration ‘Luxmuralis’ - made up of Sculptor, Peter Walker, and Composer, David Harper.
Visitors went on an immersive journey through light and sound that transformed the interior of majestic Worcester Cathedral. The visual spectacular allowed viewers to go on a journey through space and time and the chance to walk amongst the stars. Sound and light art was projected onto the stunning architectural features within the Cathedral and visitors were enveloped with bespoke music as they viewed and experienced a journey to the edge of the Universe and back!
A Reflective Memorial to the Pandemic
Throughout August, an installation of steel 'Hope' leaves, by artist Peter Walker, lined the floor of the Cathedral's Lady Chapel, as a reflective memorial to the effects of the pandemic. Designed to honour those who have lost their lives, but also to allow everyone to take a moment to contemplate what we have been through and to think about loved ones.
The leaves were laid out on the Cathedral floor, creating a beautiful impression of autumn leaves fallen from the trees. Appearing as though naturally scattered by the wind, the leaves symbolised the past and what has transpired. However, the leaf is also emblematic of the future. The artist chose a sycamore maple leaf as it symbolises strength, protection, eternity and clarity.
The bells were heard across the city in tribute to our NHS heroes
In case you missed it, we were delighted to welcome BBC Midlands Today to the Cathedral to help us mark the first national NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers Day.
Our famous bells were heard across the city at 8pm for 45 minutes on Monday evening to mark this first national day of recognition to mark the anniversary of the birth of the National Health Service in 1948.
The Dean of Worcester Cathedral, Peter Atkinson, said: “The NHS has been treasured since its inception, but never more so since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.
“We were proud to ring our bells to show our gratitude and support to all of our doctors, nurses, paramedics, carers and other critical workers who gave their all to keep our essential services running while the country faced the pandemic.
“We also remember all those who have lost their lives to this dreadful disease and their loved ones who are left behind.”
Worcester Cathedral Under Lockdown
Read below a series of articles by members of Cathedral Community and clergy about the Cathedral in lockdown.
A Strange Retirement - James Pertwee
Faith in Lockdown - William Gee
Article 1 by Canon Michael Brierley
Article 2 by Canon Stephen Edwards
Article 3 by Canon Georgina Byrne
Article 4 by The Dean of Worcester
Article 5 by The Bishop of Worcester