Statement on Contested Heritage

History is, by its nature, complex. New interpretations and perspectives extend and revise present understandings, expanding, balancing and enriching them.


The Cathedral’s approach to its history is rooted in the Christian values of openness and kindness. This history should be open to ongoing interpretation; anyone has the right to question, as well as to appreciate, its cultural heritage. It is important to talk openly, honestly, and compassionately, as only through courageous conversation can we learn and grow together. Not only will more nuanced appreciations emerge, highlighting new hidden or ignored stories which will enrich our knowledge of the past, but new partnerships by which to address the shared challenges facing society today.


The Cathedral’s work in this respect has three overlapping aims:


  • First, we will engage: through conversation and collaboration with others, we will seek to explore how our heritage can help to address social inequality and injustice today.


  • Second, we will strive to understand better: we will support new research into individuals, objects and events connected to our history, welcoming alternative interpretations that challenge existing orthodoxies, to deepen our understanding of our building and collections.


  • Third, we will aim to share what we find, highlighting new stories which enrich our knowledge of the past and suggest positive perspectives for the future.