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Derby Cathedral building ready for WW1 commemorations

25th July 2018

Derby Cathedral is safe, watertight and beautiful ahead of the forthcoming First World War centenary events, thanks to a £40m scheme to conserve and repair England’s cathedrals.

The cathedral was the first to benefit from the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund and, as a result, was able to renew the nave roof, repair the Song School roof and carry out repairs to the wiring, and heating systems.

In a report published this week, immediate risks to cathedral buildings across the country have now been significantly reduced because of the scheme, launched at Derby Cathedral in 2014 by the then chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne.

Rachel Morris, chapter steward at Derby Cathedral, project-managed the repairs. Mrs Morris said: “For Derby, the scheme was a lifeline for the well-being of the building.

“Derby Cathedral was fortunate to receive funding for three essential projects from the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund.

“Critical work to rewire the cathedral and connect gas for the first time was the first project, in 2015.

“The second project was to replace the Song School roof ensuring it remained water tight.

“Whilst working on the first project we discovered problems with the nave roof.  Design faults 50 years ago meant the lead had split causing leaks which we’d had to build scaffold and tarpaulin water traps to protect the interior, which had recently been completely redecorated.  In 2017 we spent nine months relaying the lead and replacing rotten joists in the roof.

“Without the funding it would have taken more than 20 years to raise the money required.  The funding provided means Derby Cathedral is now safe, watertight and beautiful for the people of Derby and Derbyshire to enjoy.”

England’s cathedrals contribute more than £220m to the economy each year, drawing in more than 11 million visitors. Often complex and historic buildings, each has the responsibility for raising the funds required for upkeep. However, with no regular Government funding, each cathedral faces an ongoing challenge to maintain their fabric while ensuring comfort, safety and accessibility for all.

Launched by the Government in 2014, the scheme invited applications from Catholic and Church of England cathedrals to address urgent repair works. The requirement was to make buildings weatherproof, safe and open to the public as well as ensuring they would be in a safe condition to host acts of remembrance for the centenary of the First World War armistice in 2018.

A total of 146 awards were made to 57 cathedrals. Twelve cathedrals were awarded more than £1 million each.

Projects supported by the fund were all assessed by architects as requiring urgent attention either immediately or within 12 months.

Notes to editors

The full ERS report can be accessed here:

Derby Cathedral, projects funded by the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund:

Infrastructure repairs: Awarded £546,000 in July 2014 towards a £690,000 project for rewiring, heating and safety

Song School Roof Repairs: Awarded £124,181 in March 2015; claimed £97,039

Nave Roof Repair: Awarded £750,000 in July 2016

For more information and photo opportunities, please contact:

Dave King, Media Officer: or 01332 388680


Rachel Morris: or 01332 388680

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