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118,000 for Southwark Cathedral roof repairs

Southwark's Anglican Cathedral will be receiving three grants totalling £118,000 from English Heritage and the Wolfson Foundation to make essential repairs to the tower roof, to install roof ladders and to restore the south transept roof.

Southwark Cathedral

An inspection in 2004 drew attention to the gutters around the tower roof, which are extensively cracked, and recommended that the lead-work to the remainder of the tower roof be replaced by 2009. In view of the difficulty in gaining access, it has been decided that the tower roof, the gutters and the South transept roof will all be replaced at the same time.

The wooden ladders and platforms giving roof access to the vestry and retrochoir are rotten; others are made of lightweight trellis. They all pose a significant safety risk and do not allow for proper maintenance. They will be replaced with galvanised steel ladders.

"We are immensely grateful for the grant awarded to us jointly by English Heritage and the Wolfson Foundation," says the Dean of Southwark, the Very Revd Colin Slee.

"This help is especially welcome as the less exciting areas of conservation work are frequently among the most vital to a building and at the same time they are the least donor-friendly. It is obvious that appropriate conservation and remedial work at early stages prevents deterioration and major expenses at a later date."

Paddy Pugh, Director of London Region at English Heritage, said: "Our Cathedrals represent a hugely important part of our social history as well as being wonderful examples of British architecture. Southwark Cathedral made an invaluable contribution to society as one of London's earliest hospitals, providing care to those in great need, and I am very pleased that we are now able to help in restoring the building to health. "

This is the 17th round of grants since English Heritage's Cathedral Grants scheme was launched in 1991.

In 2006 St George's Cathedral (RC) and Southwark Cathedral (Anglican) both received funding from the scheme.

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