The Cathedral Building

Heritage Minister visits Southwark Cathedral to see where grant will be spent

A living history, spanning nine centuries from the 12th century to the present day, is contained within the foundations, walls and roofs of Southwark Cathedral. The nave incorporates many fragments of the Priory Church which survived the fire of 1212, including early 12th century Caen stone arcading. The earliest surviving parts of the structure provide evidence of the first Gothic Church to be constructed in London: the choir, the retro choir, the choir-aisles, the lower part of the tower and one or two fragments of masonry within the Nave were probably being built before any other important work in the emergent Early English style was attempted in London. The last significant building phase, the rebuilding of the nave, was completed in the late 19th century to the designs of Sir Arthur Blomfield.

It is our duty to maintain and preserve this magnificent building for all to enjoy. The most recent fabric repairs have been completed due to the generosity of the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund. In March 2015, the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund awarded us a grant of £12,765 for new rainwater disposal arrangements. The grant has enabled us to protect the north wall of the Harvard Chapel, one of the most heavily used and important parts of the Cathedral, and the archaeological chamber, both of which contain important historical remains.

In July 2014, we were delighted to hear that the Fund had awarded the Cathedral a grant of £325,000 to replace the asphalt gutters of the nave and north nave aisle with lead linings and to replace the lead covering to the south facing roof of the nave. The work was completed in 2015 and was a continuation of the Cathedral’s major programme to re-roof large parts of the Cathedral over the period 2010 - 2014 years, at a cost of £1 million. Throughout this period, we completed the repair of the north transept, Harvard Chapel, north choir aisle and south nave aisle roofs; work which followed on from re-roofing the retro choir, south choir aisle, south transept and tower in previous years. We are delighted with the quality of work undertaken by skilled craftsmen, and are grateful for the generosity of the Cathedral’s friends and supporters towards this project.

In addition to the works intended for the organ and for the bells, the following future renovation and repair works are important priorities for Southwark Cathedral. Funding was provided by the Millennium Commission to create no-step access to the Cathedral building in previous years, and these plans will further this work by enabling access to the East End of the Cathedral.

Step-free Access to the Cathedral’s East End, initial estimated cost £300,000

The Cathedral is very concerned with providing better access for all, and enabling better access for those with disability to the whole of the East End of the Cathedral, which includes the Harvard Chapel. It is a large and complex task involving the main liturgical space under the crossing. 

Step-free Access to the Harvard Chapel (discrete project), initial estimated cost £80,000

Access to the Harvard Chapel is not easy for those with disability, as the entrance is via steps down into the chapel.  This needs to be improved.

Donations to the Cathedral Fabric Fund will help to ensure that we are able to restore and maintain this beautiful building. If you would like to donate to the Cathedral Fabric Fund, please click on the donate button below.