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Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management

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The Centre of Excellence is a first-of-its-kind project, and is crucial for helping us to secure the environmental, financial and heritage sustainability of York Minster for many years to come.


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The Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management will establish the York Minster Precinct as a world class campus facility for research, education and training in ancient craft skills.

It will bring benefits including continuing the craft of stonemasonry and encouraging global learning and knowledge sharing. It will also preserve ancient craft skills for future generations, as well as being a shining example of best practice in managing complex heritage estates. Utilising world-class, cutting-edge technology, it will also support young people in the early stages of their careers and provide dedicated residential facilities for our first year apprentices.

The vision for the Centre of Excellence is a key element of the adopted York Minster Precinct Neighbourhood Plan which sets out a policy-led approach to creating a sustainable future for the Minster and its seven hectare estate.

Planning permission was granted by City of York Council in September 2022, with the project expected to complete in summer 2024.


Why now?

It takes a multidisciplinary team of skilled heritage craftspeople and experts to care for the ongoing cycle of repair, restoration, conservation and development of York Minster, its ancient buildings and monuments.

At present, the facilities available to our skilled workforce are constrained and inadequate. This is set against a backdrop of declining craft skills in the wider industry. It is also important that we respond to innovations and modern processes such as digital technology, data scanning and Computer Aided Design (CAD).

There is now an opportunity to secure the long-term environmental, financial and heritage sustainability so that future generations can enjoy this magnificent building as we do today.

Meet the teams

Centre of Excellence ambition

Through the £8.5m project, two sites will be developed: The Heritage Quad and The Works and Technology Hub. The project has been underwritten by the  York Minster Fund, which is also leading a major fundraising campaign to support the works.

The two sites will provide new facilities for craftspeople, including our stonemasons, and house and deliver training in modern techniques and processes to apprentices and students, working with cutting edge digital facilities.

Existing buildings within the Precinct will be sustainably reordered, repurposed and renewed to provide new workspace and associated facilities, enabling greater engagement and interaction with the public around key crafts and trades and allowing improved links with education.

Building work has started at our Centre of Excellence. Find out how we’re using technology to preserve our ancient craft skills here.

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The Centre of Excellence will position the Minster as leading the charge for the preservation of ancient craft skills on the international stage, facilitating knowledge sharing and exchange programmes with leading cathedrals worldwide, including Washington, Milan and Trondheim.

We plan to enable reciprocal visits for apprentices between these, so we are continually sharing knowledge and training. We are in the process of forming a formal partnership with the University of York and are currently partnered with York College, which plans to use the new facilities for its own training purposes.

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“The creation of a Centre of Excellence will not only enable the preservation and development of the ancient craft skills that have sustained the Minster over the centuries but will also secure a sustainable future for it, our visitors and the communities that we serve.”

– Alex McCallion, Director of Works and Precinct at York Minster

A world-class campus facility

A £8.5 million project to secure a sustainable future

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York Minster Neighbourhood Plan

Ensuring the Minster and its Precinct continue to flourish

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Meet the teams

The skilled heritage craftspeople and experts that look after the Minster

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Case studies

Get to know us

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