By Jack Taylor
Visitors will be able to access Durham Cathedral’s central tower from Saturday 1st June 2019, as over three years of restoration work comes to an end.
The reopening, sponsored by Baldwins Accountants, will mean that visitors will once again be able to attempt the 325 step climb and take in the unrivalled views of Durham and beyond.
The 15th Century landmark has been under vital conservation works worth £1.9 million since November 2015, in order to protect the stonework that forms the central tower. Being constructed from sandstone, the Cathedral is highly susceptible to erosion and weathering.
Iron work from a previous restoration in the 1850s had also rusted and expanded, causing stones to crack. Repairs have also been made to roof-coverings and the rainwater system.
Scott Richardson, Clerk of Works at Durham Cathedral said: ‘I am thrilled that the belfry project is nearing completion. Not only have the upper levels undergone significant renovation to ensure they are structurally sound for continued public use, but the skillset of the cathedral’s in-house masonry team has been dramatically expanded due to the demanding nature of the work.”
The removal of scaffolding is almost complete, a process that began back in December. However, the hoist lift will remain in place a for some time longer, allowing finishing touches to roofing work and the construction of a new viewing platform.
Lee Boyles, of Wood Group Scaffolding said: “The scaffolding has in itself became a recognisably feature in the city because of how long the work has been ongoing.
“It is dawning on me that I will soon be leaving Durham Cathedral behind and saying goodbye to a project which has been a career highlight for me.”
Photograph: Chapter of Durham Cathedral