Former rescue dog let off the leash to sniff out decay at Lincoln Cathedral

A former rescue dog has been helping sniff out decay at Lincoln Cathedral as part of renovations to improve visitor experience.

Golden labrador Sam, who is trained to sniff out the odour of active dry rot, was set to work by handler Peter Monaghan at the Cathedral’s Old Deanery located on Eastgate.

Sam is able to pinpoint hidden dry rot within the timbers and structures of old buildings and can save construction projects much time and money just by using his nose.

The Old Deanery is being renovated as part of the £16 million Lincoln Cathedral Connected project, which will provide new visitor facilities including a dedicated learning room, community space, a new much larger café with outdoor seating, a
new gift shop and additional toilets.

Anne Irving, programme manager of Lincoln Cathedral Connected, said: “It costs a staggering £3.8 million each year to maintain our iconic cathedral, surrounding buildings and our worship and mission and we need to encourage more visitors to support us.

“The Old Deanery, which was built in 1847, is an incredible building in its own right and is key to our exciting plans.

“Watching Sam work his magic in all 30 rooms was fantastic and means once we receive the survey results, we know where we need to investigate further.

“Without Sam much potentially destructive work would have needed to be done to source the dry rot. We can’t thank Sam enough for his efforts.”

Handler and surveyor Peter Monaghan, from Lincolnshire building firm Hutton and Rostron, has worked with Sam for seven years.

He said: “Sam is a wonderful dog who is completely dedicated to his work. He can detect dry rot hidden to the human eye and drops to the floor with his nose pointing in the direction of the problem once he’s detected it, giving us a clear indication to where investigation and potentially treatment must take place.

“Sam has bounds of energy and has worked at historic buildings across the country and proves to be not only incredibly accurate in his detection but always extremely popular with all those keen to meet him.

“Following the Old Deanery, Sam only has one more job before retirement but not before he helps me train up the next rot hound!”