£7m investment for Durham and Peterborough Cathedrals

Durham Cathedral

The magnificent Durham and Peterborough Cathedrals are to receive £7m in investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The cash injection will be a welcome boost as both cathedrals prepare celebrations around historic anniversaries over the next five years.

The £3.9m awarded to Durham Cathedral will go towards the display of original 13th century copies of the Magna Carta during the document's 800th anniversary in 2015.

Part of the funds will be used to restore the Monks' Dormitory and Great Kitchen, some of the most intact medieval monastic rooms in England. Once work has been completed, the rooms will house an exhibition showcasing the history of the cathedral and its monastic community.

Peterborough Cathedral will receive £2.5m in funding to create a more welcoming entrance to the 13th century early English Gothic West Front and help display the history of the building.

The Grade I listed Knights' Chamber, located in one of the finest abbey gatehouses in the country, was used by distinguished knights of the day as a meeting place to discuss their heraldic duties.

It will be restored to house a new visitor and heritage centre and will open to the public by 2018 to mark the 900th anniversary of the cathedral.

Carole Souter, Chief Executive of HLF, said: "Cathedrals often represent the pinnacle of architectural ingenuity and craftsmanship and have been the setting for great moments in our history. They are appreciated by millions, regardless of faith or background, and they play a central role in the cultural, social and economic life of this country.

"Whether viewed as places of worship or commemoration, as physical manifestations of a shared history or as tourist attractions, cathedrals are amongst the most outstanding elements of the UK's heritage. The Heritage Lottery Fund's investment will help conserve both these beautiful buildings and unlock their stories for future generations to enjoy."

Ed Vaizey, UK Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, commented: "This investment will ensure that these cathedrals, a unique part of the UK's heritage, will be restored in a way that not only preserves the past but also protects for future generations.

"The projects at Durham and Peterborough will allow visitors to experience and learn about fantastic periods in our history, and mark important anniversaries for both."