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Cloister plan for Blackburn Cathedral
1:00pm Saturday 16th June 2012 in Blackburn
BLACKBURN Cathedral is finalising ambitious plans to give the landmark building the first full set of Cathedral Close buildings and Cloister Gardens for 570 years.
The historic move, costing £5 million, will put Lancashire’s pre-eminent church building on a par with great Medieval complexes like Durham and Chester.
It is the final part of the redevelopment of Blackburn Cathedral started when it was consecrated in 1926, interrupted by the Second World War, and then restarted in 2011.
The scheme will wrap a new suite of church buildings, housing all the clergy and staff accommodation, offices and function “State Room” round a medieval style “Cloister Garth” (or Garden).
There will also be a covered cloister-style glass-walled walkway along the fourth side situated next to the Nave and South Transept of the existing structure.
It will be open to the public on weekdays and part of Sundays but in evenings will allow clergy, staff and guests an open area for quiet prayer, rest, and meditation just as the monks used their Cloisters in medieval times.
Church of England historians said this will be the first time such a Cathedral Close with Cloister Garden had been provided for an English Cathedral since Chester and Christchurch Oxford were consecrated in 1541.
The new scheme, which goes before Blackburn with Darwen Council planners for approval this summer with a view to work starting on site next year and finished for Christmas 2015, is a key element of the £30 million Cathedral Quarter development including a hotel and two office blocks stretching over the current bus station and the Boulevard.
The project combines Church of England cash, grants from the government and council along with private developers’ investment.
The man overseeing the scheme Canon Andrew Hindley said: “This will be the first full development of a Cathedral Close and Cloister Garth with covered walkway since medieval times. It is a unique and God Given opportunity to put the life of the Cathedral at the heart of life in Blackburn.”
The Dean of Blackburn, the Very Reverend Christopher Armstrong said: “I hope that we will replicate this medieval idea in the new building and it will become the centre of Cathedral life and it make a massive contribution to the centre of Blackburn town life.
“We have always talked about bringing the heartbeat backs to the town centre and we hope that we will be doing that with the whole Cathedral development. ”