Bishop ‘tops out’ Blackburn Cathedral’s new extension

Published July 16, 2015 at 9:33

Cathedral Court, the £6 million extension to Blackburn Cathedral, has been ‘topped out’ at an official ceremony in the Cathedral grounds.

Taking part were Lancashire’s Anglican Bishop, Rt Rev Julian Henderson and the Dean of Blackburn, the Very Rev Christopher Armstrong.

Lord Shuttleworth, the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire was also in attendance along with other local dignitaries including Harry Catherall, Chief Executive of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.

Representatives from John Turner Construction Group, who are building Cathedral Court, were also present including John Turner site manager Chris Murphy.

The ceremony took place at the top of the new building to mark the completion of the external structure. The main participants climbed a secure scaffold to a high platform where Bishop Julian placed the final roof tile in position.

A short ceremony then took place during which a blessing for the building, for the construction work still to come and for the workers doing that construction work, was said.

Speaking afterwards Bishop Julian said:

This is an important day for the Cathedral and the clergy and staff who worship and work here.

A lot of hard effort has brought us to this point and I pray the new Cathedral Court will, when finally completed, be used to further the work of God and his Kingdom in the heart of the rapidly changing heart of Blackburn and further afield.

The act of faith of building this new Cathedral Court shows the commitment we have to the local community, as well as the rest of Lancashire, for which Blackburn Cathedral plays an important role as the region’s Anglican Cathedral.”

Cathedral Court will provide a library, refectory, conference room, an enclosed cloister garden, underground car park for 50 cars, four townhouses for the Dean, cathedral canons and the director of music, six apartments for cathedral staff and six accommodation units for organ and choir scholars. The building is expected to be completed by October and is the first major new cloister building for a Cathedral in more than 500 years.

It is part of the massive Cathedral Quarter development which has been transforming Blackburn town centre since construction started last April. The £34million scheme includes a hotel, office block and a public square, work on all of which is well advanced.

Dean Christopher said:

This has been a momentous day for the Cathedral and we are delighted to reach this point in the construction of Cathedral Court. The main structure is now in place and you no longer need to use your imagination to envisage what the final building will look like in reality!

From start to finish so many people have worked really hard to get us to this stage and we are now, after today, just a few months away from final completion. This Court is the first of its kind to be built onto a Cathedral for 500 years. So this is also a momentous moment for the country’s architectural history.

When completed it will be dedicated to the service of God and we look forward to serving the people and communities of the surrounding area and further afield in Lancashire as a whole in fresh new ways using the facilities it will provide.”

Lord Shuttleworth said he was ‘exciting’ to attend the ceremony adding:

This is a tremendous project that has taken many years to bring to fruition. The whole County looks to its Anglican Cathedral and it is exciting to see the building growing here in this way at the heart of the local community and as part of a wider multi-million pound regeneration project called the Cathedral Quarter here in Blackburn town centre.”

Harry Catherall added:

I am delighted to see this day finally arrive and to be here for the topping out of this outstanding development. The Cathedral Court element of the Cathedral Quarter is making a massive contribution to the ongoing regeneration of this fabulous town.”

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