Blackburn Cathedral is preparing for a landmark moment in its history when the Archbishop of York visits to officially open the new Cathedral’s Cloisters.
The development sees the first cloisters to be built at a UK cathedral for over 500 years and also marks the final portion of the large scale regeneration of the areas around the Cathedral.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu will attend Choral Evensong on Sunday 17th July at which he will preach. This will be followed by the blessing and official opening of the new building.
Archbishop Sentamu said: “This unique development is truly fantastic! It was William Temple, when he was Bishop of Manchester, who decided Blackburn Parish Church should be the new Cathedral and his vision was for this place to be ‘a centre of influence on all aspects of people’s lives’. As well as benefitting those that work and study here, visitors and worshippers at Blackburn Cathedral will enjoy the new open spaces, public gardens and café. This is a great place to visit, to know God is alive and at work in this town and its people.”
The new Cathedral Court includes residences for the Cathedral clergy and staff as well as a hall of residence for organ and choral scholars. It also includes new public gardens, a library, conference facilities, offices, parking and the new Temple Gallery that links the original Cathedral building to the new cloisters. The building is also home to the new Café Northcote which greatly enhances the hospitality that the Cathedral is able to offer visitors and tourists. The development has also created the opportunity to create new public areas and gardens that now links the Cathedral directly with a new Cathedral Square, with offices, restaurants and a hotel.
The new cloisters have taken over 20 years in planning and building to come to fruition and represent the first major addition to the Cathedral since the original parish church was expanded and transformed into Lancashire’s Cathedral.
The £8m development has been made possible through a partnership with the Cathedral Chapter, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, the Homes and Communities Agency and the European Regional Development Fund.
Canon Andrew Hindley, Canon Sacrist, who masterminded the development, said “After many years of planning and hard work, the opening of this development for the Cathedral and the diocese, represents a major turning point not just for the Cathedral community, but the town and the region as a whole.
“We have a commitment to use these new facilities to enhance the mission and ministry of the Cathedral and enhance our work with community cohesion in the North West. We are at the heart of regeneration in the town and the wider impact of the new Clergy Court will bring benefits to the whole diocese. We are looking forward to welcoming the Archbishop to the Cathedral for this historic moment.”
Bishop Philip North, the Acting Dean, said, “As a relative newcomer to the Cathedral, I am astonished by the scale and ambition of this development. It is really exciting to see the Cathedral place itself right at the heart of the regeneration of the town.
“The opening of the building will be a chance to celebrate the contribution of all those who have played a part in this magnificent project, especially those who have funded it, (The Homes and Communities Agency and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council). The design and construction team and Blackburn with Darwen Council who have been very close partners throughout. It will be a day of joy for the Cathedral Community, the Diocese, the Town and county.”
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, will attend a celebration Evensong at 4pm on Sunday 17th July 2016 followed by a blessing and official opening. The service is open to the public, no tickets are needed. People are asked to be seated by 3.30pm.