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As part of the ongoing conservation of Winchester Cathedral, structural work is set to commence on the North and South Nave Aisle ceilings starting from Monday 8th March. When carrying out Quinquennial works in January of this year, the maintenance team recorded that some of the rib stones to the Nave Aisle vaults had dropped slightly from position and in some cases were loose. While the stones are secure, as they pinch each other in place, a recommendation was made for remedial works to take place within six months, following consultation and inspection with an external structural engineer.
From next week, contracted scaffolders will begin to erect two bays of scaffold at a time, starting on the bay closest to the entrance desk on the north side of the Cathedral. This will keep scaffold on site to a minimum and will allow the stonemasons continuous work without stoppage. In total, there are eight vaults requiring work, five bays in the North Nave Aisle and three in the South Nave Aisle with plans for completion by the 23rd April.
The work will take place on site, Monday to Friday, from 7:30am – 4.30pm to avoid disruption with daily Evensong, which is live streamed at 5.30pm. There will also be periods of quiet time from 11.45am – 1.00pm every Wednesday and Friday to allow for Midday Sung Eucharist and Holy Communion. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Monday are strictly non-working days.
The Cathedral has tried to ensure minimal disruption to worship, both online and in the building, so the repair and maintenance work has been planned outside of services, wherever possible. As the Cathedral is currently closed to tourists and general visitors, the decision has been made to undertake these works to ensure completion before the full reopening on 17th of May.
The maintenance team consider it a great honour and privilege to look after and conserve the Cathedral for future generations to enjoy, worship in and visit.