Ely cathedral's prayers answered as grant kickstarts vital repairs on landmark tower

Ely Cathedral has received a vital grant from the Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund to restart work on its historic tower.

The cathedral - known as the Ship of the Fens - will share part of £103 million set aside to restart work on cherished heritage sites.

It's one of 445 organisations across the country to benefit from a share of the money to see historic buildings through the pandemic.The funding allocated to the Cathedral is to support urgent repairs to Ely’s medieval Lantern Tower, which has serious damage to the lead roof cladding.

This had led to serious leaks and internal erosion directly to the area underneath whichincluded the principal altar and Octagon floor – both of which had to be kept covered to protect them from rainwater leaking through the roof.

The cathedral said financial challenges brought on by Covid-19 meant the urgent repairs could not have happened without the help from the Culture Recovery Fund.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said it was important to preserve the heritage of the nation.

We are hugely grateful for this recent financial support. The pandemic has meant that we were forced to stop some critical conservation work on Ely Cathedral’s world-famous Lantern Tower. The grant Ely Cathedral has received from the Culture Recovery Fund and Historic England will enable us to resume this vital work to fully restore one of the most significant icons of medieval architecture.”

Clive England – Surveyor to the Fabric at Ely Cathedral, Partner at Thomas Ford and Partners

The Dean of Ely, The Very Revd Mark Bonney, said it was important to keep the medieval building safe for the future.

As the custodians of this magnificent building, we have a duty to ensure it remain standing for future generations. This has been a challenging year for many in the heritage sector and it is heartening to know that steps are being taken to ensure their survival and recovery.”

The Dean of Ely, The Very Rev Mark Bonner