Lancaster cathedral tower work soars to completion

Work on the tower of St Peter’s RC Cathedral in Lancaster is nearing completion after months of being covered in scaffolding.

By Louise Bryning
Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 3:45 pm

It was last summer when specialist scaffolding was installed on the 10-foot tower so work could begin on restoring the four ornate pinnacles at the Cathedral which opened in 1859.

Heritage Conservation Restoration Ltd of Ashton under Lyne, who recently worked on extensive restoration at St Joseph’s RC Church in Skerton, were called in to de-construct the pinnacles which involved replacing corroded iron rods with stainless steel and carving new stonework to replace that which had worn away.

While work was taking place on the tower, it was noticed that the louvres on the spire also needed some restoration.

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The Cathedral pinnacles under restoration. Photo by architect, Robert Harrington.

It is hoped that the last of the scaffolding, which has withstood the recent Storms Eunice and Franklin, will be removed within the next few weeks.

Cathedral dean, the Very Rev Stephen Pearson, said: “The workers have been very respectful of working at a holy place. The attitude to their work is exemplary.”

It was a Roman Catholic parish church until 1924, when it was elevated to the status of a cathedral. It started as a mission church in 1798, and the present church was built on a different site in 1857–59.

The Cathedral is a Grade 2 star listed building designed by Lancaster architect Edward Paley and considered to be one of his masterpieces. Its style was based on English Gothic churches of around 1300 and its 240-foot spire makes a dramatic impact on the city skyline.

A newly carved replacement stone pinnacle. Photo by architect, Robert Harrington.

The current restoration outside is just one of several recent improvement projects which have taken place at the Cathedral at a cost of more than £250,000, most of which has come from fundraising and donations.

Among other improvements have been the installation of new emergency lighting and a new alarm system.

More money has to be raised for the final project, decoration of the Cathedral interior, which was last done in 1994. It is hoped that this work will be completed by the summer of 2024 when the Lancaster Diocese celebrates its centenary.

One of the Cathedral pinnacles being dismantled. Photo by architect, Robert Harrington.
Lancaster Cathedral's tower and spire are among the city's landmarks.