'Original vision' of cathedral realised

WORK on completing the “original vision” of a Suffolk cathedral with the installation of a magnificent gilded vault will begin next week.

Dave Gooderham

WORK on completing the “original vision” of a Suffolk cathedral with the installation of a magnificent gilded vault will begin next week.

The construction of the wooden vault in the Millennium tower at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds was abandoned from the original project.

But fresh funds from private donors and “careful negotiations” have now made it possible for the work to go ahead.


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Canon Michael Hampel, sub-dean of the cathedral, said: “We have waited several years for this very exciting news. Local people will be employed in creating something beautiful and inspiring for everyone to enjoy. The tower is a magnet for visitors and speaks of hope and reassurance in a world of change and anxiety.”

Completing the tower was chosen as the Millennium project for the cathedral and took almost eight years. A wooden, gilded vault was proposed within the original designs but has proved impossible until now with scaffolding and screening going up inside the tower on Monday .

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A spokesman for the cathedral said it would not have been possible without careful negotiations with architects and contractors.

The nine-month project will feature many craftsmen who worked on the restoration of Windsor Castle after it was hit by fire in 1992.

While the Dykes Bower Trust was a principal funding body of the original project, several generous private donors have financed this latest initiative.

The vault will be made of oak, gilded and painted in blue, green and red. Whilst the vault is being installed, the opportunity will also be taken to fix in place 42 heraldic coats of arms of the dioceses of the Church of England.

The cathedral will remain open as usual throughout the year and a special sanctuary will be created to allow services to take place in front of the screened area. The work is due for completion in March 2010.

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