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Save Canterbury Cathedral Appeal reaches 7 million

Posted on: November 8, 2007 5:17 PM
Related Categories: England

Just over a year after its public launch, the Save Canterbury Cathedral Appeal has reached the £7 million mark. The Appeal, established to fund an extensive conservation and development programme, has made good progress during its first year enabling the first phases of critical conservation work to be carried out.

During this year, the work underway includes:

  • a significant amount of stone conservation on the eastern side of the South East Transept. This has involved a complex cleaning operation to remove the black sulphate crust that has built up on much of the external walls and replace damaged stonework. The work has also included the replacement of cement mortar with mortar made from lime putty, sand and stone dust. Repairs have also been carried out to the leaking roofs over the chapels of Saint Gregory and Saint John.
  • similar work on the upper levels of the south side of the Corona. A significant amount of cleaning has already been undertaken and the stonemasons will be spending much of the winter carving new stones.
  • installation of protective glazing on a panel of the South Oculus window in the South East Transept and the fitting of special environmental monitoring equipment to measure the effects of atmospheric changes to the Cathedral’s stained glass. The photogrammetry monitoring exercise will last 12 months until 2008 and allows the glass conservationists to measure the most minute distortions of the stained glass panels. Work is also underway to remove corrosion from and clean the panel of the South Oculus.
  • extensive refurbishment of the choristers’ boarding house including new music practice rooms. It is expected that the choristers will move back in the middle of 2008.

Following its high profile launch in October 2006, the Appeal quickly settled down to business and has been attracting donations both locally and from overseas. The Appeal is also gaining increased support from business and a number of grant-making Trusts and Foundations.

Commenting on this new milestone, Brigadier David Innes, Chief Executive of the Save Canterbury Cathedral Appeal said “An enormous amount of progress has been made during the year both in terms of fundraising and the important conservation work. Although it is still early days, the work that has been taking place at the Cathedral over the past year shows how right the decision was to launch this important Appeal to ensure that this magnificent national treasure can be enjoyed by generations to come.” 

Other highlights for the year have included:

  • The return of Caen stone for use in stone replacement for the first time in over 100 years. Caen stone is no stranger to Canterbury Cathedral. Much of the original pale stonework of the Cathedral is from the Plain de Caen in northern France, some of it dating back to medieval times. However, a shortage of supply at the end of the 19th century meant that the Cathedral stone masons had to source stone from elsewhere, much of it of inferior quality to or a poor match for the Caen. The team of stonemasons are starting to use the new stone in the work on the Corona.
  • The launch of Sponsor a Stone and Sponsor a Lead Tile schemes enabling supporters to play a personal part in this historic project. 
  • A 2,000 kilometre sponsored cycle from Canterbury to Rome in aid of the Appeal. This spectacular feat was undertaken by 27 enthusiastic, but not professional, cyclists who climbed over 70,000 feet (several times higher than Mount Everest) during their 16 day venture, endured temperatures ranging from 5-46 degrees centigrade and emerged with only 12 punctures and few injuries. The team raised over £100,000 in sponsorship much of which will go to the Save Canterbury Cathedral Appeal but will also be shared with other local, national and international charities.

The Christmas period will be a busy one for the Appeal with a week of Christmas Giving planned for early December, a concert on 10th December given by internationally renowned conductor Harry Christophers and the Sixteen in the Cathedral, and the draw of the Stevenson Brothers Rocking Horse Raffle on 14th December. A number of events are planned for 2008.

For more information on the Save Canterbury Cathedral Appeal please contact 01227 865346 or email the team on or alternatively visit the website at


Notes for editors:

  • The attached newsletter provides an update on the Save Canterbury Cathedral Appeal.
  • It costs over £12,000 each day to run Canterbury Cathedral. It receives minimal external funding and is dependent on its own resources and donations for funding.
  • In 2006 over one million people came to Canterbury Cathedral
  • It was founded in 597 by St Augustine, who was sent from Rome by Pope Gregory the Great to convert the pagan Anglo-Saxons. It is the oldest institution in the country
  • In 1170 Thomas Becket was murdered in the Cathedral by four knights, who acted on the words of Kind Henry II “Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?” Within 3 years, Thomas Becket had been made a saint and Canterbury became one of the leading pilgrimage centres of Europe
  • King Henry VIII destroyed the Shrine of Thomas Becket in 1538
  • Canterbury Cathedral has long been associated with literature. The Canterbury Tales were written by Chaucer following a pilgrimage to the Cathedral. Christopher Marlowe was educated here. More recently T.S. Eliot and Dorothy L Sayers wrote plays performed in the Cathedral’s Chapter House
  • The Cathedral houses the finest 12th Century stained glass in the UK. The Quire is the earliest Gothic building in the country and the Cathedral has leading examples of every type of Gothic architecture
  • Canterbury and Durham are the only two cathedrals in the UK that are World Heritage Sites. Other World Heritage Sites include the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon and the Great Wall of China