A blog by Connected intern Lewis Monkley

Since the end of November 2017 I have been working with Lincoln Cathedral Connected as the new Conservation Intern where I have been given the opportunity to gain valuable experience and put to use my skills and knowledge that I learned during my time at university. I am a fairly recent graduate and completed my degree in Conservation & Restoration at the University of Lincoln last summer. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and found many aspects fascinating, I enjoyed the range of objects I got to research and work on, but perhaps most of all it cemented the idea that this is what I wanted to do for a career.

Lewis 2

Upon completion of my degree I started the dreaded process of job applications, I looked at roles all over the country at a variety of different Historic Houses, Museums and Archives. I wanted to secure a good starting role that would help develop my skills and lead on from my time at university.  Naturally I was excited about the opportunity of an Internship with Lincoln Cathedral Connected. After spending the last three years in Lincoln I felt familiar with the city and I had always taken every opportunity to make the trek up Steep Hill to view the sites such as the Castle and Cathedral. I liked the thought of playing my part in the long line of men and women who have dedicated a great deal of their time and effort to caring for both the Cathedral and its Collection.

From the start the Internship has exceeded my expectations, the team in the Connected Office have been incredibly friendly and welcoming, quickly making me feel comfortable in my new role. I was lucky enough to begin at an interesting time, The Collections Audit had uncovered a variety of objects in the collection which required attention. Some had very little information with them allowing me to conduct research whilst others were at risk from improper packaging. I was tasked with working my way through these objects and ensuring their correct documentation and safety for the years to come whilst also assessing their condition.

I’ve really enjoyed the diversity of objects I’ve had the chance to examine, ranging from the medieval period all the way up to the modern. The seals were a particular favourite due to the variety of designs and the intricate detail of the craftsmanship that went into producing them. Almost all the items I have been assigned so far have required new packaging to ensure their safe storage. This means I have been spending a lot of time building bespoke boxes using a number of materials such as conservation grade card, acid free tissue and plasterzote. Some have been simple to construct whilst others required more innovative designs due to the objects needs. It’s been a very rewarding experience as you feel a sense of accomplishment upon completion knowing that the items will now be preserved for future generations to learn from and enjoy.

I have also been given the opportunity to help out with a number of other activities. I started in time to support Lincoln Cathedral Connected during the Christmas Market where we were set up in The Old Deanery. It was wonderful to see the public’s interest in in the Connected project. We had the plans for the new building and renovations on display alongside a number of objects from the collection, some of which I had already began working on. People were keen to ask questions and displayed a genuine interest in Connected’s goals. I have also had the chance to help with the recording and documentation of a large quantity of archaeological finds which have been sitting in a number of boxes.

I certainly feel I’ve learned a lot about identifying different types of pottery from working my way through the boxes, even if it did take a while to wrap my head around. It was engaging seeing the variety of items and the range of objects from different time periods that could be found in one area. Certainly, some of it won’t be going on display anytime soon, a penny from the 1950s and the various lumps of lead spring to mind. Another interesting find was a human skull which may involve the creation of some digital reconstructions of the persons face to be completed in the near future.

I’ve still got a lot to do but so far I can’t thank the Cathedral Connected team enough for the opportunity. It’s always a highlight being allocated a new group of items from the collection to examine and conduct a bit of research on and I look forward seeing what they have in store for me next. I already feel I’ve been able to build upon the skills that I learned at university since starting this role, especially in the fields of documentation and conservation packaging. I hope by the end of this internship that I will have developed these skills further and feel confident in my ability for whatever the future holds.


Story time at Lincoln Cathedral

Whaling out for things to do with the kids this half-term? Fishing for ways to enhance their learning? Bring them along to Lincoln Cathedral for a story time session of Jonah and the Whale and other sea creature stories.

We are hosting story time sessions inside the Chapter House at Lincoln Cathedral for children seven years and under this half-term on Tuesday 13th and Thursday 15th February. Normal Cathedral entry fees apply, but children under five go free. There will be two story time sessions available on both days at 11–11:45am and 1–1:45pm.


Due to popular demand the story time sessions have returned after the success of those that took place last year. Jonah and the Whale has been chosen as the first story of the year along with a number of other sea creature stories, which will be read out on the day. There will also be an opportunity for children to meet some cuddly sea creatures and make a colourful fish decoration to take home with them.

This is a wonderful opportunity for young children to learn more about the under-sea world and biblical stories, and our stunning Lincoln Cathedral is the perfect setting for them to enhance their learning. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

There’s no need to book, so feel free to turn up on the day. We look forward to seeing you there.

Free teacher training day at Lincoln Cathedral on local heritage

We are preparing to host a free teacher training session to help teachers and school children develop an understanding of their local heritage and its significance.

The training day, which takes place on 1 February from 2pm-5pm at 27 Minister Yard, a property to the left of the Cathedral’s main entrance, will be facilitated by Historic England, and will offer a practical, hands-on session looking at how historic maps and aerial photographs of Lincoln can provide a starting point for local study in schools. A teacher training session held by Historic England

Teachers will have the opportunity to find out more about the exciting Connected project and how they can get involved on the day too.

At the training day, Historic England will show teachers how to trace changes over time, develop chronological understanding and will provide a step by step guide on how to carry out a local history study using census data and free websites, with the aim of giving children a sense of pride in where they live.

There will also be an opportunity to find out more about the exciting future for school visits at Lincoln Cathedral once the new learning centre is developed.

This day will give teachers the chance to link Lincoln’s history with their curriculum to inspire real and relevant learning experiences for their students. It’s brilliant to be able to share more stories of the Cathedral with teachers, which in turn will be passed on to students, hopefully sparking further interest in this magnificent building.

Places are limited and we’ve already had a number of bookings, so we would encourage people to reserve their place by contacting Lincoln Cathedral or Historic England.

The event is fully funded by the Heritage Schools Programme and is free to teachers and students from all Lincolnshire school. In addition, state schools can claim a contribution of £75 towards the cost of cover for one teacher.

To register your interest please email kate.argyle@HistoricEngland.org.uk or education@lincolncathedral.com

New backpack initiative

We are pleased to introduce our new visitor backpacks for families to help them explore different aspects of Lincoln Cathedral.

A child using the Lincoln Cathedral Connected backpacks

The backpacks, which are free to use as an interactive trail of the Cathedral, will feature five different themes and will contain booklets, information, replica items, puzzles, challenges, and in some cases real artefacts. They are designed to engage families with the Cathedral’s stories, people, archaeology and architecture through activities.

The themes currently include; ‘Animal Adventure’ for three to six-year olds, which is about finding the many animal carvings around the cathedral, and ‘Work, Work, Work’ for six to 11-year olds, which teaches children about how crafts people keep the Cathedral alive today. There will also be a ‘Pilgrimage’ pack, ‘Cathedral Creatures’ and ‘Signs and Symbols’ packs coming soon.

This initiative is an important part of the work we are doing as part of the Connected project to encourage families to visit the Cathedral and to learn about this internationally important building and its rich history.

There are so many parts of the Cathedral that many people won’t have explored yet and these backpacks will allow families to venture deeper into the Cathedral and have fun whilst doing so.

This scheme is part of the exciting education and interpretation programme that we are introducing as part of the Connected project, and we hope that families enjoy using the backpacks.

The backpacks are a permanent feature to the Cathedral and more themes will be introduced in the coming months.

The packs are available on request at the Entry Desk during most opening times.


Volunteer graffiti hunters wanted!

We are offering people the unique opportunity to be part of a group that hunts and records historic graffiti inscribed on the stone surfaces inside the magnificent Cathedral.

We are calling for volunteers to undertake a day of training to become an official graffiti hunter and to get involved with our research to uncover and record the many markings found around the building to decipher their meanings and stories.

Lincoln Cathedral medieval graffiti

Participants can choose from two graffiti hunter training days which are on Thursday 18 January or Saturday 27 January from 10am-4:30pm and are held at the Connected Office 27 Minster Yard. Following the one day of training the volunteers will take part in one day of graffiti hunting and recording in the Cathedral. The result will be to give a concise record of the Cathedrals graffiti and the information may be used in guided tours and exhibitions.

This is a fantastic opportunity to learn to find, photograph and record graffiti inside Lincoln Cathedral. Participants will gain new knowledge of an often-overlooked aspect of Lincolnshire’s heritage, which we are keen to unveil to our visitors.

Some of the graffiti we are already aware of dates back to medieval times but with such a vast Cathedral, who knows how much more graffiti there is to be discovered and to better understood. This is a wonderful opportunity for people to support the Cathedral, learn a new skill and be involved in this unique research project, the findings of which will be used to the delight of many visitors to come.

To volunteer to take part in the scheme contact the Lincoln Cathedral graffiti project leader at lagerbp@btinternet.com

Glimpse inside Lincoln Cathedral’s historic Old Deanery

Old Deanery (new visitor centre) in snow CGI

We are hosting a free fun-packed event for all the family during Lincoln Christmas Market.

Christmas at the Old Deanery, which will take place on the 8 and 9 December from 10am – 4.30pm, will give people rare access into one of the historic buildings in the Cathedral’s grounds before it is transformed into a new visitor centre, as well as the opportunity to take part in a number of free festive activities.

The Old Deanery on Eastgate, will be transformed into the new visitor centre as part of the Connected project. This event is the last opportunity for people to have a look around and see the plans before we reveal the new centre in 2020.

During Christmas at the Old Deanery, visitors will be transported back to the Medieval Deanery that once stood in its place with medieval-themed demonstrations and activities throughout. These include medieval musicians de Mowbray’s Musicke, a demonstration of traditional manuscript art by the Cathedral’s Illuminator Toni Watts, Derek Tindell with his magnificent Birds of Prey and Janet Reade of historic caterers Forgotten Fare.

Using Google technology to bring the long-lost buildings back to life, visitors of all ages can experience an amazing 360-degree virtual tour of both the Medieval Works Chantry and Medieval Deanery and take a peek into the Cathedral’s medieval past with some of the locally discovered artefacts out on display, all made possible by Pighill Illustrations and Allen Archaeology.

Other activities include creating Wreaths and decorating Gingerbread to eat or take home. Visitors can listen to stories with a Christmas theme around the tree, sing songs and make a simple decoration to take home. There are four story times to choose from: 10.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm and 2.30pm on both days.

It will be a great event to get into the Christmas spirit and as a family enjoy some child-friendly activities in an incredible setting. We want as many people as possible to join us.

Charter of the Forest inspired exhibition hosted by Lincoln Cathedral

Giles Exhibition

Lincoln Cathedral recently hosted an art exhibition by Giles Academy, inspired by the 800th anniversary of Charter of the Forest 1217.

The exhibition, which ends on Thursday 16th November, includes fine art paintings, ceramics, mixed media sculptures and architectural model making together with photography and graphic design, created by year 7 to year 13 students from Giles Academy.

Giles Academy is a large secondary specialist visual arts school in the small village of Old Leake near Boston, Lincolnshire.

On Tuesday 14th November year 8 Bronze Arts Award students from Giles Academy lead a Matisse inspired art workshop ‘Forest Pathways’ for a local primary school in the Chapter House.  This collaborative work was enjoyed by all and the art will be on display at the school until the end of term.

The exhibition has been very well received by the public and has encouraged new audiences to visit the Cathedral.

Workshops for gifted and talented children

Our team is set to host a range of unique and bespoke workshops aimed at children over 10 years old who have been identified as exceptionally ‘able, gifted and talented’.

The workshops link in with our project, which aims to engage people in the Cathedral’s past, archaeology and architecture through activities and events to educate, inspire and inform.


The ‘challenging and empowering’ workshops will be facilitated by Tomorrow’s Achievers Educational Trust, which offers masterclasses for exceptionally able children across a range of subjects in venues throughout the country.

The Tomorrow’s Achievers workshops, which will cover topics such as hidden treasures in the Cathedral, animals of imagination and assumptions behind body language, will take place on Saturday’s at 10am-4pm from November 2017 until April 2018.

Each workshop will include a visit to our magnificent Cathedral where children will get the chance to absorb its beauty, history and philosophical enquiries this wonderful building presents to the exploring mind. There are also two training days that parents and carers of the children participating can get involved with.

We are delighted to have the chance to hose these dynamic and diverse workshops that will provide exciting learning experiences for gifted and talented children.

This course will give children the chance to experience something special in Lincoln Cathedral, which is the heart of our historic city. Places are limited, so to avoid disappointment we would encourage people to reserve places as soon as possible.

Everything you need to know including how to book, dates and applying for a grant can be found here: https://lincolncathedral.com/education-learning/tomorrows-achievers/

How the Connected team celebrated Lincolnshire Day

Girls LD

A variety of events took place across Lincolnshire on 1st October to celebrate Lincolnshire Day, which marks the anniversary of the Lincolnshire Rising, a revolt by Catholics against the establishment of the Church of England by Henry VIII on 1st October 1536.

Since 2006 the city comes together each year to mark the occasion and to celebrate what makes Lincoln great.

This year, the Lincolnshire County Showground organised a range of activities for children to celebrate Lincolnshire Day, including crafts, seed planting and pizza making.

Never one to miss an opportunity to share the Connected vision and the history of Lincoln Cathedral – we took part and designed two art and maths-linked activities based on the ‘Teaching Window’ dedicated to George Boole. School children aged from 6 to 9 designed their own animal-themed stained-glass windows using Pentominoes and took away light-catchers they had decorated.

It was a fantastic day and we worked with around 80 children from three local schools. The opportunity allowed us to share the story of George Boole, born in Lincoln in 1815, a child-genius who went on to become a great scientist and mathematician. He is most famous as the founder of ‘Boolean Logic’ without which there would be no computer age as we know it. The stained-glass window called the ‘Teaching Window’ at Lincoln Cathedral is dedicated to him as it depicts his favourite passage of the bible, the calling of Samuel.

George Boole was the focus of our task and the children really got into the spirit of the event. It was also a brilliant chance for us to build relationships with the schools and their teachers.

Lincoln Cathedral is an iconic place for Lincoln and the Connected team were proud to attend the event to represent the Cathedral.


My work experience with Lincoln Cathedral Connected

A post by Annderley Hill.

Annderley 2

This summer I have been volunteering in the Lincoln Cathedral Connected office. During this time I have been participating in some amazing work, one of the best things that I was lucky enough to be involved in was the collections audit. We worked our way through numerous Cathedral buildings and rooms photographing and measuring all the items that could be used in exhibitions in the future. Getting up close and personal with some of the Cathedral’s treasures has been an exciting and unique experience for me. One of my favourite items that we found was some medieval glass from the glazing department. Looking at it on the table it didn’t look too impressive but once it was put up against the light the colours were so bright and stunning, it was a revelation!

The Exchequer Gate Arch was another highlight, having walked underneath it many times it was very exciting to be able to go inside for the first time.

Another thing I have been doing is digitising Dean & Chapter documents to ensure that the Cathedral has a searchable document archive. This has involved visiting the Lincolnshire archives numerous times, something I hope to do more of in the future, and lots and lots of typing! My ability to read old scrawl writing has improved and I have learnt so much about the Cathedral’s history by typing up these documents. Reports on the Cathedral repairs have been some of the most interesting, especially those involving Godfrey, the former architect of the Cathedral, who I almost feel like I know personally now.

Getting involved in the area of heritage education has been amazing, it is definitely an area that I would like to continue being involved in. Sitting in on the Cathedral’s Education Forum was a brilliant experience, hearing about everything that is going on and what will be happening in the future regarding education at the Cathedral was so interesting. I was also involved in Story Time events at the Cathedral, which allowed children to hear the Noah’s Ark story and participate in the craft activities and animal tour, which was wonderful.

In addition, I also sat in on the Exhibition and Interpretation meetings. It’s fascinating to hear how much goes into an exhibition space before any of the objects even come into the equation. I am really looking forward to seeing how the objects and stories we have been discussing come to life in the new exhibition space. Visitors to the Cathedral will have a fascinating insight in to both the history and working life of the Cathedral.

Before I started this work experience I was about 80% sure I wanted to work in heritage but now I am 100% sure! Working in the Connected office has been an incredible experience and I am so excited about hopefully having an opportunity to be involved with the team again in the future. I’d like to say a huge thank you to the Connected Team.