Hi all, my name is Rachel. This year, we had the privilege of watching as the scaffolding finally came down from Durham Cathedral’s central tower after over three years of restoration work. Over those years, the wrap on the tower has been compared to many things by students, from halos to (regrettably) condoms – my personal favourite, however, was “chef’s hat”.
For most of us in the ICHM programme, as well as most students of the wider university, it is the first time that we are seeing the cathedral unobscured by unsightly white tarps and scaffolding.
At the start of our course in October 2018, we were pleasantly informed that the masonry repair work on the tower had concluded and that from there on out, the scaffolding would be disassembled from the bottom-up.
The white wrapper was quick to disappear, as it was, or so it seemed, predominantly dislodged by the autumn winds. But the scaffolding was another matter entirely and as you shall see, its removal turned out to be quite a lengthy process!
Come New Year, the scaffolding was still very much there; so we waited some more.
Aaand we waited…
Until finally, as May drew to a close, the construction lift was just about the only thing left clinging to the exterior of the tower (where it still remains as of this entry). Durham Cathedral has announced that it will resume allowing visitors to climb the tower for its views starting today, June 1st. Many superstitious students, however, will choose to wait just a little longer, as it is allegedly bad luck to climb the tower before graduation.
*All photos taken by the author