The South Quire Aisle will be one of the cathedral’s main conservation and restoration projects for the next decade. The scheme involves work to repair and replace stone and glass in 11 bays, which will take around 11 years at a cost of £11m.
This area of the cathedral dates from 1361 and its construction took around 60 years to complete. It bears dramatic evidence of six centuries of exposure to the elements, with issues including extensive cracking and erosion to the stone work and serious damage to the medieval glass, which has buckled and cracked in places allowing water in.
The area suffered serious damage during the 1829 fire, started deliberately by Jonathan Martin in the Quire. The graffiti marks of the 19th century glaziers – and even those of their sweethearts – who repaired the windows following the fire can still be seen.
Work to the stone will include taking down and rebuilding some of the bays’ pinnacles and parapets, repair to window masonry and replacing some of the weathered grotesques.
The cathedral needs to raise around £2.5million each year for ongoing repairs to its stone and glass and has a 100-year rolling plan of works required. The cathedral receives no funding from the Government, Church of England or Diocese towards this restoration work, instead relying heavily on gifts, legacies and grants.
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