Winchester Cathedral awarded £10.5m for urgent conservation work

Winchester Cathedral is one of several sites receiving multi-million pound awards from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

A total of £47m is being shared among six heritage tourism projects in England and Wales aimed at improving visitor experience and developing their potential as tourist attractions.  

The largest award of £12.8 has gone to the regeneration of the Flax Mill Maltings in Shrewsbury.  The complex of industrial buildings dates back to the 18th century and includes the world's first iron-framed building. 

Winchester Cathedral will receive £10.5m to fund urgent conservation work as well as transform the visitor experience. The repair work is expected to commence in early autumn, followed by a programme of conservation work that will stretch over five years.

The Dean of Winchester, The Very Reverend James Atwell said: "Winchester Cathedral has a significance beyond the ordinary and needs to tell its story effectively in the 21st Century and offer an exceptional experience to visitors and worshippers alike.

"The support of the Heritage Lottery Fund is very exciting as it will enable the Cathedral both to maintain its fabric and to fulfil its potential with a fresh burst of energy and dynamism in our own generation.

"The Cathedral has always been about Community and this award will increase our ability to reach out, welcome and serve the wellbeing of a new generation."

Part of the Heritage Lottery Fund will be used by the cathedral for three major new exhibitions exploring its greatest treasures and telling the story of the cathedral's importance in the development of the nation and kingship.  

Cathedral's Receiver General, Canon Annabelle Boyes, said: "Last year I was able to say that I was delighted that we were in a position where we could realistically look forward to the day when we could fulfil some long held aspirations for repairs, conservation and the significant enhancement of what we offer our visitors. Today I am delighted to be able to say that work can commence, thanks to this significant contribution from the HLF."

Stuart McLeod, head of Heritage Lottery Fund South East, said: "Winchester Cathedral is one of the UK's most important cathedrals having weathered the test of time for over nine hundred years. A five-year programme of urgent conservation work will ensure this precious site is protected for the future as well as revealing far more about its historic treasures through major new exhibitions. There is a strong tradition of volunteering at the Cathedral, and plans to encourage more people to get involved, particularly from the local community, are something we applaud."

The grants are being provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund to enhance and promote a better understanding of the nation's heritage.  

They reflect the growing popularity of UK-based short breaks and the Heritage Lottery Fund hopes the grants will contribute £26bn to the UK heritage tourism economy.

Carole Souter, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: "We know that heritage is a huge draw for visitors from home and abroad. More than a quarter of all UK holiday activities undertaken by UK residents now involve heritage.

"These projects all offer the public the chance to explore and enjoy our rich and complex history. Many of us will be spending our holidays at home this summer, so it's a great time to celebrate the unique range of things to see and do right here on our doorstep."

Other projects receiving funding are:

Knole, Kent - £7.75m to refurbish the medieval palace and former hunting lodge of Henry VIII, and build Knole Studios to house the world's largest collection of Royal Stuart furniture.

Windermere Steamboat Museum, Cumbria - The £9.4m grant will spent on showcasing 200 years of boatbuilding in the Lake District in a new museum on the edge of Lake Windermere. The development will also provide accredited training and apprenticeship opportunities.

Chester Farm, Northamptonshire - £4m for the development of a complex of at-risk Grade II and II* listed buildings, as well as excavations of human activity at the site, which covers a period of around 10,000 years.

Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery, Powys - £2.5m is being awarded to revitalise the gallery, which is home to important archaeological material from mid-Wales and nationally significant contemporary art.