We have appointed independent conservation centre, Holy Well Glass, to complete significant restoration work on our four stained-glass windows.
Around 3000 hours of work will be involved in the Divine Beauty conservation phase, the majority of which will be completed on-site. This work will include removing a substantial build-up of debris and repairing areas of cracking, failed leading and paint loss.
The windows were designed by Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones and made by William Morris. They are considered some of the most acclaimed stained-glass in the world, depicting four scenes from the life of Christ.
Scaffolding will be erected after Easter and will remain in place until later this year, providing an opportunity for visitors to see this work up close from a special viewing platform. Some portions of stained-glass will be removed for cleaning and repairs to take place, but some elements of this will also be completed within the cathedral for the public to see first-hand.
A range of exciting events are also planned between May and September, to enable visitors to learn about the windows, their significance, and their heritage. This includes guided tours, meet the conservator workshops and the culmination of the Divine Beauty Children’s Poetry Festival. A full programme of events will be made available as these are confirmed.
In January, 3000 people attended the immersive light and sound experience, Divine Beauty at Night by Luxmuralis, which brought the windows and their history to life in a unique way.
Anna Pitt, CEO at Birmingham Cathedral said: “This project has been in conception since 2014, so being able to finally start the physical conservation work is an exciting milestone. Our hope is that by Christmas, our windows will be bright, clean and preserved safely for future generations to enjoy. Holy Well Glass bring incredible expertise to undertake this historic work, and we are looking forward to working with the team over the coming months”.
Jack Clare, Director at Holy Well Glass, said: “We count ourselves fortunate to work at many of the great cathedrals and churches in the UK, but this project is especially exciting for the team, conserving and restoring what is undoubtedly Edward Burne-Jones’ master work. The engagement with the community and their great pride in the cathedral, and these superb windows will be a great experience for our conservators”.
Holy Well Glass will start by removing of the protective grills on the outside of the cathedral. Glass conservation, stone cleaning, masonry repairs and the construction of new protection measures will then be undertaken.
Divine Beauty is generously supported by National Lottery players, via The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Notes to editors
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About the Divine Beauty project
The Divine Beauty project aims to conserve and protect the four historic stained-glass windows at Birmingham Cathedral.
Initial funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund enabled a detailed investigation into the condition of the windows to take place. This work uncovered significant damage in a number of places, including portions of glazing that were missing or cracked. In 2022, an additional grant of £641,200 in National Lottery Heritage funding was confirmed to complete the conservation required.
For more information visit the Divine Beauty Project page of the Birmingham Cathedral website.
For project updates, follow @DivineBeautyBham on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #DivineBeautyProject.
About Holy Well glass
Holy Well glass is a family run centre of excellence, specialising in the conservation, restoration and design of stained-glass. Their team have carried out works on cathedrals, churches and country houses across the UK and beyond. They also work to commissions and manufacture custom systems for Environmental Protective Glazing. For more information visit the Holy Well Glass website.
About The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by The National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. For more information visit www.heritagefund.org.uk .
Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £43 billion for projects and more than 635,000 grants have been awarded across the UK. More than £30 million raised each week goes to good causes across the UK.
Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund.