The first phase of a £16 million project to restore and expand the visitor offer at Lincoln Cathedral has begun.
Works are part of the Lincoln Cathedral Connected project, which will include new facilities, a shop, cafe, Interpretation Centre, landscaping and restoration.
Visitors to the cathedral will see repair work has begun to the north cloister wall and internationally important Romanesque Frieze.
The north cloister wall forms the outer part of the Wren Library and is undergoing piecing in of new stone and the removal of iron ties to the north and west wall. The cloister wall is due for completion in September this year.
In July of this year, work will also begin on the south Romanesque Frieze. The Frieze has been covered since the late 1980s for preservation due to the disintegration of the attached gothic sculptures.
Thanks to the funding from the Connected project, careful conservation work of the now delicate carvings can begin, which date back from approximately 1123-1148.
Anne Irving, programme manager of Lincoln Cathedral Connected, said: “Following our successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund, we are really excited to finally see the restoration works our cathedral so desperately needs starting to take place.
“The restoration of the cloister wall and the Romanesque Frieze is just the beginning of five years of important works to the cathedral.
“It’s extremely important that we preserve the rich heritage of the cathedral which has stood proudly over Lincoln for the last 900 years and we want to ensure it stands for at least another 900 years.
“By restoring it and improving the visitor experience with new and improved facilities we can further secure its future.”
Replicas of the carvings on the south Romanesque Frieze, which show biblical scenes including Daniel in the lions’ den and Noah building of the Ark will be created and put on display in the new visitor centre, which is being built as part of the Connected project and will be complete in 2020.
The Norman-era sculptures which form the Romanesque Frieze, haven’t been worked on since 1960 and will be removed from the wall so that expert conservators can examine and clean them. The Frieze is due for completion in 2022.
These restoration works are being led by Manchester-based Buttress; an architectural practice with a specialism in heritage and conservation.
Director Nicholas Rank, said: “Working on the south Romanesque Frieze is particularly challenging because it is regarded as one of the most sensitive conservation projects on medieval carving that’s currently active in the whole of the country.
“We have to make sure that when we clean the carvings, which is done partially with lasers, and get down to the original stone, that we do not damage it and avoid losing original fragments of these beautiful carvings.
“The Frieze is also 30 ft above the ground, which provides further challenges and will entail creating specially designed scaffolding to allow us to work on it.
“I’m extremely proud to be working with the Lincoln Cathedral Connected team and to have the opportunity to be part of the renovation of such a prestigious landmark.”