Visitors to Salford Cathedral examine the iconic East Window from the outside

Behind the scenes of our cathedral restoration project

Tuesday 29th August 2023

Salford Cathedral offered visitors a rare glimpse into its exciting restoration project with the start of its Hard Hat Tours last week.

As work continues to restore the glory of our magnificent cathedral, people across the diocese are being given the chance to be part of the story by going behind the scenes to view the work first-hand.

Taking place each month, each of the tours will have a unique focus, reflecting the nature of the work being carried out at that time.

This month, the tour’s focus was on our cathedral’s iconic 61-metre-high spire, with visitors donning hard hats and hi-vis to find out more about restoring the building’s exterior.

During the trip, the knowledgeable guide from Simpsons – the company contracted to carry out the restoration work – talked visitors through the process of raking out all the joints to the stonework and cleaning the stone with a thermotic-treated water system.

Photo collage: Photo 1 shows the newly-cleaned stonework of the cathedral; Photo 2 shows the group learning more about the process of cleaning the stonework

As the group worked its way up the scaffolding, the visitors enjoyed a rare view of the cathedral’s stunning East Window – albeit without its striking stained glass.

The group’s guide explained how glass from the window had been removed and taken to Barley Studios in York, where each pane will be carefully cleaned, restored where necessary, and placed between environmental protection glazing to help conserve the glass for the future and help address problems with heat loss from the building.

In its place, the group could peer through the remaining clear glass down into the empty cathedral below to the work being carried out inside, and even across to the colourful glass at the opposite end of the church.

Photo collage showing view through the cathedral from the East Window and second photo shows the group looking at the exterior of the East Window

Onwards and upwards, the group began to scale the spectacular spire itself, coming face-to-face with exquisite gargoyles and other decorative features, whilst learning more about the process of removing these heavy pieces of stone and replacing the weakened pegs that have been holding them in place.

After a minute or two enjoying the city skyline, the group began the descent with words of praise and admiration for the craftsmanship of the project.

One person said: “For me, the highlight was seeing the detail of the stonework up close and learning all about how they go about restoring that today.

“I just thought it was a wonderful opportunity and it’s given me a far better understanding of the extent of the project being undertaken in terms of the restoration work.”

Another visitor added: “It really is a privilege to be up there because it’s not an opportunity everyone gets, so to see the work going on and the work that went into building it originally is absolutely fantastic.”

The monthly tours are due to continue into the new year, with each one highlighting a different aspect of our cathedral’s restoration journey. Upcoming dates include:

Friday 29th September 2023

Friday 27th October 2023

Friday 24th November 2023

Friday 26th January 2024

Friday 23rd February 2024

To find out more, please click here to visit the cathedral website.

Photo collage: Photo 1 shows a row of gargoyles on the exterior of the cathedral; photo two shows the slates being replaced on the roof, photo 3 is a close of one of our stained glass windows; photo 4 is the view from the top of the scaffolding

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Tagged | Events | Restoration | Restoring the Glory | Salford Cathedral

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