Birmingham Cathedral has been awarded over £640,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to support an extensive programme of conservation work to the cathedral’s remarkable stained-glass windows.
The project, known as Divine Beauty, has been made possible by National Lottery players, and an award of £641,200 from by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
As well as extensive conservation work, an exciting programme of activity and engagement is planned over the next 2 years at the cathedral.
The cathedral is home to four world-famous stained-glass windows designed by Birmingham born Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones. The Ascension 1885, The Nativity 1887, The Crucifixion 1887, and The Last Judgement 1897.
Initial funding from the Heritage Fund has enabled full and detailed investigation of the condition of the windows to take place. Essential conservation work is required to remove the substantial build up of debris, as well as repair areas of cracking, failed leading and paint loss.
The unsightly protective grilles on the exterior of the four windows will be replaced with a more sympathetic and bespoke alternative. Along with an exciting range of engagement opportunities visitors will be able to see conservation work as it happens from an accessible platform.
Other engagement will include performances in the churchyard at the time of the Commonwealth Games, as well as work with schools, and artists.
Understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the windows will be improved with enhanced interpretation with a walking trail, guide book, events and new films. There will be opportunities for people to get involved as volunteers and to help tell the story of how the windows were made, their history and how we can care for them to ensure they are here for future generations.
Birmingham Cathedral was built as the parish church of St Philip’s over 300 years ago and the four remarkable windows were added between 1885-1897. The windows are some of the most exceptional stained-glass in the world and amongst the best examples of Birmingham artistry in the city. During The Second World War the windows were removed, courtesy of Birmingham Civic Society, and placed in a slate mine in Wales for safekeeping. The duty of this generation is to ensure they are preserved and recognised for the future.
The Very Revd Matt Thompson, Dean of Birmingham Cathedral said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players. They are a remarkable inspiration to visitors and worshippers from all over the world and we are pleased now undertake this important and vital step their preservation.”
Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We’re proud to continue to support the great cathedrals and churches within our communities. They not only offer people a space for worship and a quiet space for reflection, but are a core focus in our cities, towns and rural communities. We are seeing a new movement of using these spaces in new ways – to engage with more people within our communities and ensuring a sustainable future by providing different sources of revenue to support their upkeep. Thanks to National Lottery players, the funding to these projects will ensure these precious buildings are conserved for the future but will also continue to evolve and provide a vibrant future at the core of their communities.”
About Birmingham Cathedral
Birmingham Cathedral is a Christian Church of the Anglican Communion and seat of the Bishop of Birmingham. It is home to a welcoming and inclusive community, offering corporate worship of The Church of England, enriched by the Anglican choral tradition. The cathedral was first consecrated as the parish church of St Philips in 1715, making it the oldest building in central Birmingham still used for its original purpose.
Birmingham Cathedral is free to visit and anyone is welcome to attend daily public services.
Working closely with local faith groups, businesses, institutions and charities, Birmingham Cathedral promotes community cohesion and plays an important civic role in the region. Visitors can also enjoy an extensive programme of recitals, special events, performances, heritage education activities and mass participation art installations.
Birmingham Cathedral is also home to four remarkable Edward Burne-Jones stained glass windows, which will be carefully restored in 2023, as part of the National Lottery Heritage Funded project, known as Divine Beauty. More information can be found at divinebeautyproject.com
About Divine Beauty
Birmingham Cathedral is home to four world-famous stained-glass windows designed by Birmingham born Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones. The Ascension 1885, The Nativity 1887, The Crucifixion 1887, and The Last Judgement 1897.
The windows were added to the building between 1885-1897 and are some of the most exceptional stained-glass in the world and amongst the best examples of Birmingham artistry in the city.
During 2022 and 2023, they will be undergoing extensive conservation and restoration work, to ensure that they are preserved and recognised for future generations. This work has been supported by over £640,000 from a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, which will also include work to improve understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the windows
There will be enhanced interpretation with a walking trail, guide book, events and new films, as well as opportunities for people to get involved as volunteers and to help tell the story of how the windows were made, their history and how we can care for them in the future.
More information can be found at divinebeautyproject.com