Lifeline grant from government's culture recovery fund

Ripon Cathedral has received a financial boost from the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help fund repairs during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Lifeline grants from the Culture Recovery Fund are designed to protect heritage sites and ensure that jobs and access to culture and heritage in local communities are protected during the months ahead.

Ripon Cathedral has been awarded £23,909 for urgent repair work which will stop water entering the central tower and seeping through to the nave roof, eroding the masonry and dripping through the Lamb of God featured on the ceiling.

The ceiling is believed to be the work of the renowned artist and architect Edward Blore and is one of the last remaining sections of panelled ceiling he installed, between 1830 and 1833. Originally it was throughout the cathedral but it is thought that this is the only section that survives in the building today. Blore worked on some of the most important buildings in the country, including Lambeth Palace, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace.

Grants of up to £25,000 are being allocated to cherished heritage sites, like Ripon Cathedral, across the country to cover urgently needed maintenance and repairs. This vital funding comes from a part of the Culture Recovery Fund called the Heritage Stimulus Fund and is administered on behalf of the government by Historic England.

As well as rescuing precious heritage buildings in need, the injection of cash will protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors working in the sector.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “These grants will help the places that have shaped our skylines for hundreds of years and that continue to define culture in our towns and cities. We’re protecting heritage and culture in every corner of the country to save jobs and ensure it’s there for future generations to enjoy.”

Ripon Cathedral, dates back to 672AD, and boasts the oldest fabric of any English cathedral. It’s currently open for private prayer and daily services with larger services, including Sunday’s 10.30am service of Holy Communion, streamed on YouTube.

The Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson DL said: “The central tower of Ripon Cathedral is directly above St. Wilfrid’s Anglo-Saxon crypt which is the oldest built fabric of all England’s cathedrals. We are extremely grateful for the use of public funds for this worthy piece of heritage conservation. We also rejoice in the fact that it is helping safeguard not only Ripon Cathedral, but also important jobs and valuable skills in a time of economic challenge and national uncertainty. It is a great investment by the government.”

Duncan Wilson, Historic England Chief Executive said: “Historic places across the country are being supported by the Government’s grants awarded under the Culture Recovery Fund. This funding is a lifeline which is kick-starting essential repairs and maintenance at many of our most precious historic sites, so they can begin to recover from the damaging effects of COVID-19.

“It is also providing employment for skilled craft workers who help keep historic places alive and the wheels of the heritage sector turning. Our shared heritage is an anchor for us all in these challenging times and this funding will help to ensure it remains part of our collective future.”

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