30 Aug 2014

Sheffield Anglican Cathedral (1): an update


Summer 2014  


For the whole of 2013 and the early months of 2014 Sheffield Anglican Cathedral went through a major reconstruction process on the forecourt and interior called the Gateway Project. Up-dating some facilities such as heating and lighting and better access for all around the building was needed. As a consequence, the areas around the main entrance forecourt, the nave, chancel and two side chapels were boarded up and out of use to allow the construction work to be completed. Over the months I've recorded some of the work that has taken place from early in 2013 until the middle of this year.



This was the forecourt and main entrance before the present reconstruction work took place. Now the pathway up to the main entrance has been levelled and this has been re-arranged and glazed to provide a reception area and small shop.






This was the site outside during 2013 when some of the walls of the main entrance had been demolished (later to be built up in places using some of the stone). The floor and pavements were lifted stone by stone and then levelled and the Victorian gateposts returned to the south-east corner of the forecourt.


Early on the furniture in the nave was removed and stored away, some heavy duty glass doors removed, meshing was fixed to stained glass windows and the monuments were boxed in for protection.





Work on the nave could be viewed through windows in the temporary wall that separated the main part of the cathedral from that to be used by visitors, clergy, office and other ministry staff.  Services took place in the St. George's, Holy Spirit and Crypt Chapels.  Gradually the old floor was removed using water-cooled saws to keep the dust down.  Finally the concrete flooring underneath was lifted revealing the bare earth. New foundations were needed to strengthen each of the columns in the nave. The next phase of work was the renewal of the electrical, boiler and under floor heating systems before the layers of flooring could be replaced together with the installation of a new loop sound system and some new lighting.


The St. George's Chapel where many of the services took place during the reconstruction work.
  A special lift was installed for those who were unable to use the steps up into the chapel.


During the Heritage Open Day in September 2013 visitors were given a guided tour of the nave and heard about the work in progress.




The Shrewsbury Chapel (below) was built early in the 16th century as the Earl of Shrewsbury's family chapel. On the left is the tomb of the 4th Earl with his first and second wives. The monument on the right depicts George, the 6th Earl, who guarded Mary Queen of Scots for the 14 years when she was held prisoner in Sheffield by Queen Elizabeth I.  The Earls of Shrewsbury were Lords of the Manor of Sheffield for 200 years.  The family name was Talbot so their emblem was the Talbot dog, a medieval hunting dog, which is also depicted on the tombs.


The Shrewsbury Chapel 



During the excavation work on the foundations there was an opportunity to open up the entrance chamber to the Talbot vault underneath the chapel which had not been done since the early 19th century. Seventeen members of the family had been buried there during the Tudor period. However, the 19th century archive of the investigation of the sealed crypt mentioned that the 4th Earl and 14 of his relatives had vanished from their resting place along with the lead coffins. This has intrigued present day historians and archaeologists who are working on the mystery of what may have happened to the bodies. One theory would be grave-snatching, but since the lead coffins are also missing it's possible that they've been taken to another location. However, experts are now exploring the possibility that the vault contains a secret wall behind which is the location of the missing members of this important Tudor family.

The medieval chancel and sanctuary with the Shrewsbury Chapel beyond

The Six Sheffield Worthies Window shows 6 people from the city's past history
who also had connections with the Cathedral, formerly Sheffield Parish Church before 1914.

Throughout the upheaval of the reconstruction work the life of the Cathedral continued in the north side separated by the temporary wall. By Easter 2014 the work was almost complete and the Cathedral could be fully used once more. It's inspiring to know that the building in its various forms has been in use for hundreds of years and will be in the future.

The West End Crossing (July 2014)

St. George's Chapel and The Holy Spirit Chapel and Crypt is beyond it. (July 2014)

Stained glass window in The Holy Spirit Chapel

The Nave (July 2014)

Stained glass window (south side of the Cathedral)

The South Aisle leading to The Shrewsbury Chapel (July 2014)

Not only is the Cathedral a place of worship, the Community there hosts concerts and other events that reflect the heritage of the city and the county of Yorkshire. In July there was an exhibition of decorated bicycles specially created for the Yorkshire Festival and the Tour de Yorkshire.  Nine bicycles from different areas of Yorkshire were brought together and exhibited in the Cathedral and I had a good time looking at the crochet and knit work as the detail on each one demonstrated some aspect of Yorkshire life and heritage.  Next time I'll share what I photographed of the bicycles, other related artwork and some more of the beautiful Cathedral setting.




37 comments:

  1. that is good they use this beautiful wonderful building for other things to. as i looked at all the fantastic detail of the archtecture, i thought.. the simple beauty of that single sunflower is every bit as beautiful as the other photos.

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    1. Thank you Sandra re. the header. The Cathedral is beautiful and I appreciate the history, the architecture and being able to regularly spend time there.

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  2. Thank you for the interesting commentary on the history of the cathedral and the renovation that took place over the last year or so. Your photos are marvelous. I would certainly love to see this beautiful cathedral in person.

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    1. Thank you George. The renovation work was so expertly done and the Cathedral is looking beautiful. A place full of space and light.

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  3. They have done a wonderful job on the restoration, and your photos show the progress of it all beautifully.

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    1. Thank you Rosemary. It was a big project and it was good that everything went well and the much needed work was completed in the time planned.

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  4. Fascinating! And what a project! Now I am wondering if they looked behind a wall to see it the caskets were there?
    What a curious mystery.

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    1. As In any old, historic building restoration work has to be done by experts. Re. the Shrewsbury Family Vault that's sealed as everything in the Cathedral had to be put back as before the reconstruction work. I understand further research is being undertaken by professionals.

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  5. It looks like a big project that's been undertaken but I'm sure it will all be worth it in the end. Intriguing about the Talbot family, do keep us updated, I wonder what happened to those coffins. There's some beautiful windows there, I love stained glass.

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    1. It was a huge project and it's good that everything is back in place and looking beautiful. I love stained glass and there are some beautiful windows in the Cathedral. I expect we shall hear more about the mystery of the missing coffins in due course as the story was also reported in the national papers, but I understand the research is going to take a long time.

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  6. It always does my heart good to hear of such restoration work in these historical places. Your photos are always impressive Linda, always so enjoyable and I had another great tour through them. Thank you :)

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    1. Thank you Denise and glad you enjoyed the tour of a place that means a lot to me.

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  7. Dear Linda,

    The restoration of the church is wonderful and what a magnificent building with all the gorgeous lead light windows and thanks for sharing.
    Hope you are having a lovely weekend
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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    1. Thanks Carolyn. I hope you're having a good weekend also.

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  8. They have done an amazing amount of work so beautifully. The cathedral will be fit for many more centuries use now which is so good isn't it. xx

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    1. The work was a huge undertaking with lots of planning beforehand, as you can imagine. Now that the updating is complete it will, as you say, be in use for many more years.

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  9. I loved all the pictures. Particularly the most stunning windows. A true labour of love.

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    1. Thank you Linda for leaving a comment. Yes, the windows are beautiful and there are many more that I haven't included.

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  10. Hello Linda- what a treat! Thanks for sharing these photos. Wow, love the history of this building and find the reconstruction fascinating! The interior and beautiful windows are inspiring. I appreciate your visits to my blog- have a nice weekend :)
    shawn

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    1. Thank you Shawn. Glad you found the post interesting. Have a good week!

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  11. Wow - what an incredible undertaking. So wonderful that so much effort and money was spent to restore and preserve such a magnificent place.

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    1. I think it's important that we appreciate the history of a place. Sheffield has a rich heritage. It's a positive thing when old buildings are preserved and can be used by all the community, if at all possible. Have a good week, Lisa!

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  12. What a wonderful photographic record of all the work that has been done at the Cathedral - it looks amazing:)

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    1. I've been going to the Cathedral for several years now so knowing about the plans for the reconstruction and seeing the process take place has been very interesting.

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  13. Wow, wow, and wow!!!! What an awesome work not only of architecture but of updating. It renders me speechless and so wishing I could walk in those spaces!!! Thanks for the photographic treat, Linda!

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  14. Oh....how very fascinating! Now where have those coffins gone too? How fantastic to be able to watch the renovations through a peep hole. Such a stunningingly beautiful Cathedral....I could study it for hours. Such an interesting follow-up!xxx

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    1. Glad you found the follow-up interesting, Dina. It's good that this beautiful, historic building and place of worship is now in full use again.

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  15. Magnificent, Linda! I kinda read this post on the edge of my seat, with my heart in my throat! Such a huge, important undertaking. Looks like it all turned out wonderfully, and your photos are marvelous. Eager to see the bicycles! Blessings, Bess

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    1. Thank you Bess. Have a good day! Linda :)

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  16. Fascinating. The missing Tudors mystery is intriguing. Love the ceilings esp. --- gorgeous workmanship. And I love stained glass windows----these are quite lovely. Thank you for the tour! :>)

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    1. Yes, beautiful work in wood, glass and stone.

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  17. Hi, Hope you are having a great day. We finally got some rain here this weekend (which we needed)--but this week promises to be a hot one... I'm SO ready for Fall...

    WOW---that is an amazing job they did with the renovation to that gorgeous cathedral. I am very impressed and would love to see it.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Yesterday someone mentioned that it's the first day of Autumn and I must say the weather is gradually reflecting the new season here. Today is another pleasant, sunny morning, but cool. I hope you get some cooler weather and rain for your yard plants.

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  18. A truly magnificent building and stained glass windows. Thank you for the history you have included.

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    1. Thank you for your visit and comment, Susan.

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  19. A fascinating post, Linda, showing very clearly what a major renovation project this was and how wonderfully well it has succeeded.

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