Billionaire couple donate £550k to restore iconic 'Harry Potter' cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral

The works are part of the cathedral's 10-year plan

A billionaire couple have donated £550,000 to Gloucester Cathedral to restore its cloisters which were made famous when they became 'Hogwarts'.

The cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral, which featured in three Harry Potter films, is widely regarded as one of the best and earliest examples of fan vaulting in the world.

The cone-shaped 'fans' are hollow and were carved as separate sections, which were then fitted together like pieces of a jigsaw by stonemasons in the 14th century.

However, in 2019, a survey confirmed that the cloisters are at risk and in urgent need of conservation.

Now £550,000 of funding has been secured to ensure that the cloisters remain at the heart of the cathedral for generations to come.

  • Watch what happened when Harry Potter filmed in Gloucester in 2001

Interim Dean of Gloucester Canon Dr Andrew Braddock said: "The cloisters, with its amazing 'fan-vaulted' ceiling, is one of Gloucester Cathedral's most iconic and beautiful spaces.

"Sitting at the heart of the cathedral's buildings, it is a place of encounter, meeting, reflection and wonder, attracting thousands of visitors every year.

"This project will ensure the cloisters remains open for everyone and will be at the very heart of the cathedral's daily rhythm of life for generations to come."

Building work on the Cloister began in 1347 but was not completed until 1412 Credit: Gloucester Cathedral/Kevin Lewis

The restoration will involve carefully removing the Victorian cement used as mortar in repairs between blocks of stone.

The cement is currently preventing the ancient stones from 'breathing', causing them to blister and decay, and so it needs replacing with a lime-based mortar.

The trial phase of the works have now begun Credit: Gloucester Cathedral

When it was completed in around 1412, the cloisters formed a central part of daily life for the monks who lived at the cathedral; it was where they ate, slept, studied and exercised.

Now the cloisters are every bit as central to the 21st-century cathedral - from an iconic filming location for blockbuster movies like Harry Potter to a space to bring the community together for art displays.

Emma Watson - Hermione - is snapped leaving the "Chamber of Secrets" set in Gloucester in January 2002. Credit: ITV News

Visitors to the cathedral will be able to see the conservation work first-hand, learning about the people and techniques used to protect the building.

It is hoped that there will be opportunities for the public to engage with the stonemasons as the project evolves through carving workshops, demonstrations and other activities.

Gloucester Cathedral was used as a filming location for the first Harry Potter movie Credit: Gloucester Cathedral Kevin Lewis

Couple Julia and Hans Rausing, who gave the cathedral the restoration funds, said: "No one who walks through the cloister at Gloucester Cathedral can fail to be struck by its overwhelming beauty.

"The intricate design of the stonemasonry, particularly the fan vaulted ceiling, is remarkable and its visual impact touches the many thousands of visitors to the Cathedral each year.

"We are delighted to help ensure that this magnificent feat of medieval architecture is preserved so that visitors and worshippers can continue to enjoy it for hundreds of years to come."