Chichester Cathedral being brought into the 21st century by project

RARE and unseen photographs stored high up in Chichester Cathedral are to be made available to the public for the first time thanks to an exciting project which has received a £50,000 Heritage Lottery grant.

The library – a hidden gem in the cathedral’s triforium – houses a rare and unseen collection of historic photographs documenting key events in the cathedral’s life since the late 19th century, including 50 photographs of the collapse of the cathedral spire in 1861.

The project will involve cataloguing and digitising them to preserve for future generations. The photographs will also be made available online – a significant change as the cathedral library is reached via a steep spiral staircase and is open only occasionally to the visiting public.

The project is being launched with a ‘Bring Along Event’ on Friday, March 30, in Vicars Hall from 10.30am-1.30pm. People are invited to bring along any cathedral-related memorabilia such as photographs, objects, or even just a memory or story to share which will be used form a ‘People’s Archive’.

Everyone is welcome to the event, for details contact programme manager Dr Charlotte Hansen by emailing library@chichestercathedral.org.uk or calling 01243 813587.

Volunteers will also be needed to carry out research and develop a special education programme based around the spire event, to interpret documents and take photographs and help with scanning and cataloguing.

An information meeting for potential volunteers will take place on Wednesday, March 14, at midday in the Alexandra Room.

Cathedral chancellor Canon Dr Anthony Cane said: “In a landscape of reduced funding we are especially delighted and fortunate to have been awarded this grant.

“The funding will enable us to preserve and make accessible a large amount of unique material, and also to generate significant learning resources.”