The Cathedral welcomes over one million people each year who visit this World Heritage Site to experience its amazing architecture, history and humility – most notably, the martyrdom of Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170.
As well as hosting many visitors and pilgrims since the Middle Ages, the Cathedral offers a wide range of formal and informal learning activities for all ages. These include a range of programmes and workshops inspired by the Cathedral, traditional crafts and creative interpretation, all delivered by the Cathedral’s historic and conservation experts.
The Cathedral, founded in the 6th century, requires continual upkeep and restoration. The Great South Window of the Cathedral was built in the 1420s, containing beautiful stained glass dating back from the late 12th and early 13th century. After years of investigation commencing in 2009 after a single stone fell from the structure, the decision was taken to dismantle, rebuild and replace the whole window.
After extensive analysis of the structure, it was discovered that the iron bars that had been supporting the window had rusted significantly, resulting in the surrounding stone fracturing and causing the whole structure to tilt forward and sideways.The restoration process included replacing the stone surrounding the Great South Window. This required a small team of mason-conservators to hand carve and re-mould the new limestone imported from France. After a safer structure and frame had been produced, the stained glass was inserted.
The approximate cost of the window repair was £2.25 million and The Julia and Hans Rausing Trust provided £1 million of this.