Stone me! Durham Cathedral work has taken 30 years

Ian Wilmhurst, Durham Cathedral Yard Foreman, in front of the East End of the Cathedral which is fully on show for the first time in thirty years.
Ian Wilmhurst, Durham Cathedral Yard Foreman, in front of the East End of the Cathedral which is fully on show for the first time in thirty years.
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THREE decades of work is coming to an end at Durham Cathedral.

Stonemasons and gardeners who work at the historic building gathered to see hoardings outside its Chapel of Nine Altars peeled away after 30 years.

The wooden constructions were in place while stone at the east end was renewed.

Local sandstone used to build the cathedral is vulnerable to the elements and exposed to high wind and rain. Its team of five masons often compare their work to painting the Forth Rail Bridge.

All stone used for renewal is sourced from Dunhouse Quarry, County Durham and is geologically the same as that used by the masons in the 11th and 12th centuries.

Iain Wilmshurst, yard foreman, said: “I have worked at Durham Cathedral for 37 years, initially as an apprentice achieving my mason qualification in 1978.

“I remember when the project started and the hoarding went up. It is fantastic to see it removed and the full aspect of the East End unwrapped.”

The project is not complete, but enough work has been done for the hoarding to be removed.

The final phase of work, which focuses on the north west turret of the east end below the famous Dun Cow statue, will be finished next year.

Durham Cathedral has a dedicated Fabric Fund which contributes to the cost of repairs. To make a donation, email gaye.kirby@durhamcathedral.co.uk