Restoring Canterbury Cathedral’s Great South Window
PUBLISHED: 10:40 26 June 2018
The craftspeople who rebuilt the Great South Window have won further acclaim for their skills
The craftsmen and women who rebuilt the enormous Great South Window at Canterbury Cathedral have won further acclaim for their skills and creativity.
The window has been judged as winner of the conservation section in the south east 2018 Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors awards and will now go forward to the national awards this November.
Beating off competition from 11 other projects, the window, had to be painstakingly rebuilt after a piece of stone fell from the structure in June 2009.
This led the Cathedral experts to uncover a number of problems with the 16.7 metre-high structure, parts of which dated back to the 15th century, and the challenging conservation journey began.
The panels containing the stained glass depicting figures known as the Ancestors of Christ were carefully removed – some going on tour to the USA – and then the structure carefully dismantled, with each stone being measured and recorded so that exact replicas could be carved.
The £2.5m rebuild was funded by benefactors through the Cathedral Trust and was completed in 2016 when it was blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury during a special service.
The Cathedral’s Head of Conservation, Heather Newton, said that she felt proud and humbled to have been associated with the hugely complex project which drew staff from a wide range of craft and professional disciplines and included six apprentice stonemasons.
“I particularly want to commend Darren McCulloch-Smith, our setter-out mason. Without his dedication and forensic investigation and understanding of the three-dimensional puzzle that was the damaged and dismantled stonework,
the result would not have been as successful as it is,” said Heather.
The judges commented: “The world-class restoration work carried out by the Cathedral’s own craftsmen demonstrates how contemporary conservation and ancient skills were combined to restore
the Cathedral’s showpiece medieval glass in its full glory.”