Lincoln Cathedral receives HLF support for £16million redevelopment

By Adrian Murphy

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has granted £11.4m towards Lincoln Cathedral Connected project to significantly enhance its facilities and visitor experience

The Lincoln Cathedral Connected project will provide a new interpretation centre, education suite, café, shop, ‘Changing Places’ room and community spaces, with full accessibility throughout. As part of the connect scheme restoration and conservation of the Romanesque Frieze, Gallery of Kings and Exchequergate Arch will also be funded, as well as a new floodlighting scheme which will pronounce cathedral’s aspect above the city.

Building started on the cathedral in 1092 and continued in several phases throughout the medieval period and it was the tallest building in the world, surpassing the Great Pyramid at Giza, for 238 years between 1311 and 1549, when the central spire collapsed in 1549 and was not rebuilt.

“Lincoln Cathedral is one of England’s finest surviving architectural examples of Norman power and dominance,” Ros Kerslake, CEO at HLF. “With £11.4m of support from National Lottery players, restoration work can now begin along with the creation of a new interpretation centre. We’re particularly supportive of a complementary programme of activities aimed at doubling current school visit numbers as well as drawing in a wider and more diverse range of visitors.”

The £16m project will also involve extensive landscaping to the west and north of the Cathedral to create new outdoor spaces. This will open up areas, like the Dean’s Green, to the public for the first time in decades. This HLF grant follows on from a £1million development grant provided in 2015.


How the new visitor centre could look

Lincoln Cathedral Connected will also allow visitors unprecedented access to the Cathedral’s collections of archaeological artefacts, treasures, manuscripts and sculpture. And the visitor experience will be enhanced through digital guides and innovative interpretation will engage visitors in the fascinating stories and events which have shaped the Cathedral’s history.

The funds mean the cathedral team can go ahead with plans to provide a varied programme of lectures, tours and workshops that it hopes will encourage schools, young people, families and adult learners to visit.

They hope the work will result in an extra 125,000 visitors a year, bringing in an additional estimated profit of £500,000 to the cathedral – as well as boosting the local economy generally. This will building on the momentum generated by the £20m Lincoln Castle Revealed project, which redeveloped the castle, and was also HLF funded.

“This project has been many years in the making, and have resulted in fabulous plans which will transform Lincoln Cathedral into a top destination, while supporting our ministry of excellent worship and ministry,” said the Subdean of Lincoln, the Revd Canon John Patrick, who is also Master of the Fabric “In the past 18 months we have unearthed some fabulous hidden history, which we are looking forward to showcase when the project is complete in 2020.” An archaeological dig last uncovered two medieval skeletons, since covered in situ, a graffiti daisy wheel as wll as Roman and medieval pottery.

The project is set to be completed in 2020 and will create a number of new jobs and volunteering opportunities, and provide training for Cathedral staff and volunteers.