Work to take place to conserve Birmingham Cathedral’s world-famous Burne-Jones windows
18 May 2022
Birmingham Cathedral has been awarded over £640,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to support an extensive programme of conservation work to the cathedral’s remarkable stained-glass windows.
The project, known as Divine Beauty, has been made possible by National Lottery players, and an award of £641,200 from by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
As well as extensive conservation work, an exciting programme of activity and engagement is planned over the next 2 years at the cathedral.
The cathedral is home to four world-famous stained-glass windows designed by Birmingham born Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones.
Initial funding from the[AC1] Heritage Fund has enabled full and detailed investigation of the condition of the windows to take place. Essential conservation work is required to remove the substantial build up of debris, as well as repair areas of cracking, failed leading and paint loss.
The unsightly protective grilles on the exterior of the four windows will be replaced with a more sympathetic and bespoke alternative. Along with an exciting range of engagement opportunities visitors will be able to see conservation work as it happens from an accessible platform.
Other engagement will include performances in the churchyard at the time of the Commonwealth Games, as well as work with schools, and artists. There will be improved interpretation with a new podcast, film and a new guide book.
Understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the windows will be improved with enhanced interpretation with a walking trail, events and engagement with schools. There will be opportunities for people to get involved as volunteers and to help tell the story of how the windows were made, their history and how we can care for them to ensure they are here for future generations.
Birmingham Cathedral was built as the parish church of St Philip’s over 300 years ago and the four remarkable windows were added between 1885-1897. The windows are some of the most exceptional stained-glass in the world and amongst the best examples of Birmingham artistry in the city. During The Second World War the windows were removed courtesy of Birmingham Civic Society and placed in a slate mine in Wales for safekeeping. The duty of this generation is to ensure they are preserved and recognised for the future.
The Very Revd Matt Thompson, Dean of Birmingham Cathedral said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players. They are a remarkable inspiration to visitors and worshippers from all over the world and we are pleased now undertake this important and vital step their preservation.”
Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We’re proud to continue to support the great cathedrals and churches within our communities. They not only offer people a space for worship and a quiet space for reflection, but are a core focus in our cities, towns and rural communities. We are seeing a new movement of using these spaces in new ways – to engage with more people within our communities and ensuring a sustainable future by providing different sources of revenue to support their upkeep. Thanks to National Lottery players, the funding to these projects will ensure these precious buildings are conserved for the future but will also continue to evolve and provide a vibrant future at the core of their communities.”