Salisbury Cathedral restoration complete after four decades


An aerial view of Salisbury CathedralImage source, PA Media

Image caption,

Scaffold on the East End of Salisbury Cathedral will soon be removed for the first time in 37 years

By Emma Colman & Dawn Limbu

BBC News

Four decades of renovations on an historic cathedral have been completed, with new carvings around the building for masons of the future to discover.

The major restoration project at Salisbury Cathedral began in 1986.

On Thursday 7 September, the East Gable was blessed to mark the end of the restoration and repair work.

The completion of the works means that for the first time in decades, there will be no scaffolding around the 13th Century building.

Image source, PA Media

Image caption,

Canon Kenneth Padley, on the East End of Salisbury Cathedral where a blessing of the cross took place

The Dean of Salisbury blessed the main cross high above the East End, which is the oldest part of the Cathedral and the area that underwent restoration.

Workers have been making their mark since the work began in 1986, carving out new carvings for masons of the future to discover.

The markings include depictions of a delicate baby dragon, a gecko, a bird in a nest, a sunflower and a ferret.

Image source, PA Media

Image caption,

Clerk of works Gary Price inspects a hidden dragon figure crarved into one of the medieval style intricate crockets

“It’s a culmination of 37 years’ worth of work which has brought us to this moment,” said Gary Price, the cathedral clerk.

“We have gone round and photographed, cleaned, pointed every single stone during the last 37 years.

“We’ve worked our way clockwise around the building and we’re finishing where they started the cathedral over 803 years ago, so it’s quite fitting.”

Image source, PA Media

Image caption,

Scaffold on the East End of Salisbury Cathedral has been removed after 37 years

During these works, around 1,100 stones have been replaced, the windows have been cleaned, wooden frames restored, lead water goods repaired, and other remedial work has been undertaken over a period of 37 years, almost as long as it took to build the main Cathedral.

The cathedral’s architect Isaac Hudson says a skilled workforce of 30 staff members have been behind the completion on the restoration project.

“It’s a lot of work, but it means there’s an ability to get things done and get repairs done,” said Mr Hudson.

“It’s quite interesting to be involved in part of that major achievement and major coordination exercise.

The masons have now moved on to the North Cloisters, where they will spend the next four years restoring elaborately carved tracery and Purbeck columns, bases and capitals that have split.

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