The Diocese of Leeds has received a grant of £99,944 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for Leeds Cathedral to expand its welcome and provisions for visitors of all faiths and none. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, Leeds Cathedral’s ‘Heritage for All’ project will celebrate the 2024 centenary of the Cathedral’s consecration by welcoming all to share its history, heritage, and culture at the heart of the City of Leeds.
The Cathedral plans to remain open every day as usual whilst masonry repairs are carried out on the south steps. Development work can now take place to explore ways of improving access for visitors with impaired mobility and incorporating better toilet facilities into the building. This will form the basis for a future development project at the Cathedral.
New interpretation materials and resources developed and tailored to the needs of tourists and school visits will be delivered by a team of Cathedral Guides, supported by volunteer stewards and welcomers, all to be recruited from local communities and given full training opportunities.
This National Lottery Heritage Fund grant will help bring the Grade II* Cathedral’s story to life for people of all ages. Sustainable online resources developed with local teachers for both faith and non-faith schools will engage children and young people in the historical and cultural context of art, architecture, and music as well as the continuing contemporary significance of religion, worship and belief. A ‘People’s Heritage’ project will tell some of the stories of the diverse local communities for whose members the Cathedral has long been a focal point and cultural venue in West Yorkshire’s largest city.
The Dean of Leeds Cathedral, Canon Matthew Habron, expressed his thanks for the support of National Lottery players and said: ‘The award of this grant from the Heritage Fund will enable Leeds Cathedral to continue to welcome those who come here to worship, or to visit this historic building in the heart of Leeds, deepening their appreciation of its heritage and of those past and present of all ages and backgrounds who make up that living heritage. I am very grateful to all who have made the award of this grant possible, and I look forward to welcoming many more people from across the City of Leeds, and far beyond, to experience the beauty and heritage of this unique Cathedral Church.’
Established in 1878, the Diocese of Leeds is the Catholic Church across Yorkshire’s historic West Riding. Now covering parts of 5 counties, it comprises 79 parishes and 93 Catholic schools.
Leeds Cathedral is the mother church of the Diocese and the city’s only cathedral. Dedicated to St Anne, it opened in 1904, designed in an ‘Arts and Crafts Gothic’ style by Leeds born architect JH Eastwood, and was consecrated in 1924. It is the second Catholic Cathedral in Leeds and contains some splendid artefacts from the former St Anne’s, including the Lady Chapel altar which was designed by the renowned Gothic Revival architect AWN Pugin. It was demolished in 1899 to make way for developments in the Headrow.
More than 40 languages are spoken in the Parish of Mother of Unfailing Help which incorporates Leeds Cathedral and the Church of the Holy Rosary, which covers Leeds city centre and Chapeltown. Leeds Cathedral has seven, diverse choirs which sing daily at the Cathedral and are much broadcast on the BBC and the Cathedral hosts many Music Education and cultural initiatives, including the Leeds International Organ Festival.
The grant funding will create opportunities for new Cathedral Guides, Assistant Guides and training for various Volunteer roles.