Southwark Cathedral has been awarded a grant of £59,263 by Historic England through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, part of a £35m package going to 142 historic sites across the UK.
The money will help to pay for urgent works to building services at the Cathedral which are nearing the end of their serviceable life, including essential repairs to the heating system, repairs to outdated electrics, and new light fittings. These works will also help to reduce the Cathedral’s carbon emissions.
The Very Revd Andrew Nunn, Dean of Southwark, said: “The funded project components will vastly benefit the fabric and the visitor experience at the Cathedral as we look to bounce back from the pandemic. Southwark Cathedral is on track to return visitor numbers to pre-COVID-19 levels. However, to achieve this, all accessible parts of the Cathedral need to be safe. The building services upgrades will therefore ensure the continued safety of all who access the site.”
He added: “In addition to safety improvements, returning power to the west end of the nave, where the entrance to the Cathedral is sited and therefore the area with most visitor footfall, will improve the visitor experience immeasurably. By restoring power to the west end of the nave and replacing outdated and unmaintainable lighting, we will be able to take an important step towards improving the Cathedral as a visitor attraction and restoring visitor numbers. In addition, temperature control needs to be restored to bring the Sacristy fully into use following the pandemic.”
Administered on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) by Historic England, the grant comes from the second round of the Heritage Stimulus Fund, which is part of the Culture Recovery Fund.
Money from the Government’s £2bn Culture Recovery Fund is intended to open up heritage and the benefits it brings to everyone, providing an injection of cash for vital repairs and major building programmes in much-loved historic places. Many of the organisations and sites receiving funding enhance well-being and community connection, offering education, development opportunities and jobs in some of the most deprived communities hit hard by the impact of the pandemic.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “From local churches to ancient buildings and landscapes, the UK’s unique heritage makes our towns, cities and villages stronger, more vibrant and helps bring communities together.
“This latest funding – £35m from our unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund – will help protect sites including Jane Austen’s House and Hampton Court Palace for future generations and help them build back better from the pandemic.”
Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive, said: “Funding from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund is hugely welcome at a time when the people and organisations who look after our vast and varied array of heritage urgently need support to carry out essential repairs. Heritage is a fragile eco-system, with an amazing cast of characters who keep our historic places alive, with specialist skills that take time to learn and experience to perfect. These grants will protect their livelihoods, as they use their expertise to help our heritage survive.”
Money from the Heritage Stimulus Fund will also keep nationally and internationally significant heritage assets in good condition and sustain the skilled craft workforce that looks after them.
The latest £35m funding awards build on £52m already allocated from the first round of the Heritage Stimulus Fund, which has supported works at 800 of the country’s treasured heritage assets. These include Blackpool’s iconic Tower Ballroom, the stunning Georgian landscape at Gibside in Gateshead and the tranquil Thornton-le-Beans Chapel in North Yorkshire.