Nottingham’s Catholic Cathedral wins substantial Lottery Grant to ‘Restore Pugin’

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The Catholic Diocese of Nottingham has received the offer of a substantial grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to embark on an exciting ‘Restoring Pugin’ project at Nottingham Cathedral.

The development grant awarded amounts to £277,558 – some 60% of project development costs. There is also a potential delivery grant of £524,858 for the implementation phase – 60% of the total cost of the project.

Proposed and led by Nottingham Cathedral, the project is a unique partnership with Nottingham Trent University (NTU) and Culture Syndicates (a CIC heritage and arts consultancy that offers paid development opportunities to museum sector entrants).

Nottingham Cathedral was designed by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, one of the key pioneers of the Gothic Revival architectural style in Britain during the early Victorian period. Through his works, publications and close collaboration with the architect Sir Charles Barry in the design of the Houses of Parliament, Pugin brought the Middle Ages to life with all its richness, colour and detail.

Restoration of three chapels

At the heart of the Nottingham Cathedral project is the restoration of the three chapels at the east end of the building to Pugin’s original vision and design. Early investigations of the paintwork by conservators have showed that Pugin’s original decorative scheme, sadly covered over with later paint, can be uncovered and brought back to its former glory.

Sophie Andreae, Vice Chair of the Bishops’ Conference’s Patrimony Committee, said:

“This is a really exciting project. The original Pugin decorative scheme in Nottingham Cathedral would once have filled the building with colour, contributing greatly to the sense of the sacred. Following a number of grants in recent years which have seen the exterior of the Cathedral made wind and watertight, now is the time to focus on interior and to restore it to its original glory. The original painted decoration is there under layers of later paint just waiting to be revealed.”

As part of this important and innovation restoration, the Cathedral and its partners are taking the opportunity to encourage and develop conservation skills in the heritage sector and to encourage people from diverse backgrounds to get involved in learning new skills. This grant will create a number of exciting paid and volunteer opportunities for young people in the region, with a focus on diversity and inclusion. As the project develops, there will be events for the public to learn more about the restoration work and the science of paint analysis and conservation. It is anticipated that the work will put the Cathedral firmly on the heritage map of Nottingham, so that the story of Pugin and the outstanding beauty of his work can become better known to audiences both in the City, and further afield.

Mother Church for Nottingham

Nottingham Cathedral is a Grade II* listed building in the heart of Nottingham City Centre, on the busy Derby Road. It is a vibrant parish community and also ‘The Seat’ of the Bishop of Nottingham, making it the ‘Mother Church’ of the Catholic community across much of the East Midlands. The Cathedral welcomes tens of thousands of people each year who visit to experience its peaceful atmosphere as a place of worship and to learn about its fascinating architectural history. It is open every day and in addition to its strong Catholic congregation, it welcomes visitors of all faiths and none.

Canon Malachy Brett, Dean of Nottingham Cathedral said:

“We are really delighted that The National Lottery Heritage Fund is generously supporting our plans to ‘Restore Pugin’ at Nottingham Cathedral. Thanks to National Lottery players, not only will we be able to restore some of Pugin’s magnificent original design work to the Cathedral but also to create a number of opportunities for young people to engage in conservation and heritage work.

“We are looking forward to working with NTU and Culture Syndicates on this exciting project and hope that it will enable many more people to appreciate the Cathedral’s rich heritage.”

Professor Benachir Medidoub, Professor in Digital Architecture at Nottingham Trent University said:

“This project will use advanced digital technologies, internet of things and real-time data, to pave the way to new pedagogical tools to educate our young people from different communities in heritage and conservation, and to support Nottingham Cathedral conservation through real-time monitoring.”

Neville Stankley, Culture Syndicates said:

“We are pleased to be collaborating with Nottingham Cathedral and Nottingham Trent University on this exciting project. We will be engaging young people from a range of backgrounds to take part in the wide variety of heritage work involved in a major conservation project. We will show young people that there is a diversity of skills and knowledge needed to preserve our heritage and to get them thinking about conservation work as a potential career choice.”

National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, the Fund inspires, leads and resources the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. 

Since the National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £43 billion for projects and more than 635,000 grants have been awarded across the UK.

Each week, thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised for good causes across the UK.