Newcastle’s St Nicholas’ Cathedral has been granted £250,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help open up the historic building’s hidden history.
HLF’s investment, alongside £400,000 raised by the cathedral, will help conserve St Nicholas’ important monuments through a project called Illuminating Stories, enabling them to be told properly for the first time.
As part of the conservation, new state-of-the-art lighting will be installed focusing on the cathedral’s unknown treasures for everyone to learn from and enjoy.
Volunteers will be able to gain ‘hands on’ experience with the project including the chance to join a conservation group and help with marketing.
Dean, The Very Reverend Chris Dalliston, said: “This is fantastic news and will allow us to move ahead with the re-modelling and bringing the monuments of the cathedral to light in all their glory.
“The project will involve telling the story behind the monuments and bringing them to life using the latest new media technologies. It is very exciting. In these times of financial uncertainty, this helps provide some much needed light in the darkness allowing the community to have something positive to focus on.”
An extensive range of educational activities will be on offer such as workshops, talks and exhibitions. Work experience placements will also be available for students studying heritage, construction and tourism, giving them high-quality ‘on the job’ training.
Explaining the importance of the HLF support, Ivor Crowther, Head of HLF North East, said: “The North East has such a diverse range of places of worship, each one reflecting the history of its community as well as some of the country’s most impressive architecture.
“The Cathedral Church of St Nicholas is a notable landmark in Newcastle and has been for centuries. HLF is delighted to be supporting this project that will not only shed light on its long history for everyone to see – but also offer people a great range of educational and volunteering opportunities.”
St Nicholas has been a cathedral since 1882 and was created to meet the spiritual needs of the rapidly-growing industrial area on Tyneside. But there has been a church of St Nicholas since 1194, built in the wake of the Norman’s arrival on British soil.
The Cathedral houses one of the finest collections of civic memorials in the country, mostly dating from the 17th and 18th centuries.
The memorials celebrate the lives and achievements of men and women, soldiers and sailors, academics and artists each of whom had an impact on Newcastle and the wider region.
They include the Thornton brass (c1429), the largest such memorial in the country; Pietro Rossi’s bust of Admiral Lord Collingwood and the effigy of John Collingwood Bruce, the historian who first popularised the study of Hadrian’s Wall.