We dug, we found, we are amazed!

You may have seen in the press recently that we have had the results back from our recent archaeology survey and we are both amazed and excited by the finds.

Allen Archaeology in Lincoln undertook the excavation for us to find out what remains below ground in areas around the Cathedral that we hope to improve as part of the Connected project.

I’m delighted to say that the excavation team unearthed many ancient and important artefacts including medieval graffiti showing hand carved Daisy Wheels. These are intricate and very beautiful hand carved symbols in stone which we believe are created as part of a protection ritual.

Further evidence of our ancestors’ everyday lives was found in the form of Roman and medieval pottery, medieval building materials and animal bones. The archeologists also found the burials of two adults. These were carefully re-covered and have been left in situ.

We also discovered the remains of medieval buildings we knew had once existed but had been destroyed in the Victorian period including the original Deanery and the Chantry – two of what were the most impressive medieval buildings in Lincoln. Plus, the once tiled floor of the elaborate gatehouse – Dean Flemyng’s Gate Tower – which was constructed in 1451–83.

We have history records that tell us much of the Cathedrals rich history but what we found during this dig has helped us to fill some of the gaps which is incredible.

The results of this survey, which was overseen by advisors from Historic England, are incredibly important – not only are we able to learn much about the Cathedral’s history and our ancestors – but it will help to inform our plans for improving visitor experience.

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Putting ‘on’ a show

If you were lucky enough to be at the Lincolnshire Show last month and stopped by the Lincoln Cathedral stand, you would have seen a few of the Connected team looking like we had raided a dressing up box.

Myself and a number of my colleagues got into the show spirit and donned outfits of important historic figures from the Cathedral’s past, including medieval knights and Roman soldiers.

Never a team to shy away from a challenge, we dressed up to encourage visitors to come into the stand to hear about our exciting plans for the Cathedral and offer visitors the opportunity to see visuals of what the plans will look like when complete. Plus, we hoped a few of them would dress up too so we didn’t feel so silly, thankfully a few did!

The Lincolnshire Show is a firm favourite in the county’s events calendar and is the ideal place to see all that makes Lincolnshire great and what better place to learn about the future of our much-loved cathedral?

Throughout the twos days, the sunshine brought with it thousands of keen visitors and we welcomed lots of local and not so local people into the stand who were really interested in the Connected plans and we also asked their  opinions on what they think we could improve on. We were also very grateful to Stokes who provided tea and coffee throughout the two days – exactly what you need when you’re not used to standing up for two days!

The Lincolnshire Show is one of many events we will be taking part in to engage with people on the Connected project. We want to educate, inspire and inform on our plans but also share the Cathedral’s past, archaeology and architecture.

Digging for Treasure

Lincoln Cathedral Connected Team break ground with a series of excavations.

Archaeologists are on site at the Cathedral, digging a series of test pits as part of the planning phase of our highly anticipated Lincoln Cathedral Connected Project. The project will provide significant changes to the visitor offering at Lincoln Cathedral for years to come. A utility study has been under way and we are now considering the impact on the surrounding land before we break ground and start to build early next year.

As well as renovating old and constructing new buildings to create classrooms and an exhibition space, the £16 million project will also involve extensive landscaping to the west and north of the Cathedral to create new outdoor spaces. This will open up areas, like the Dean’s Green, to the public for the first time in decades.

This is an exciting opportunity to be part of the start of this £16 million project.

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Lincoln Cathedral Connected Roadshow

Get Yourself Connected! – The Roadshow!

The Connected Team are hitting the roads of Lincolnshire. Heading to far flung & exotic places including Gainsborough, Scunthorpe and Skegness!

Well maybe not exotic but non the less exciting to be out and about, and having a good old chat about what we are doing here at Connected HQ and most importantly hearing from you!

We want to hear all your ideas, including the more outrageous, maybe a giant slide from the central tower (if only we could kids!).

Roadshow poster

February 2016

Wednesday 10th: Barton upon Humber Library– 10am -2pm

Thursday 11th: Brigg Library– 10am -5pm

Friday 12th: Scunthorpe Central Library– 9.30am-5pm

Saturday 13th: Scunthorpe Central Library– 9am-12pm

Monday 15th: Hildreds Shopping Centre, Skegness– 10am- 4pm

Wednesday 17th: Waterside Shopping Centre, Lincoln – 10am-5pm

Friday 19th: Marshals Yard, Gainsborough – 10am-5pm

Monday 22nd: Ashby Library – 9.30am-5pm

Friday 26th: Crowle Library– 10am-1pm

Saturday 27th: Epworth Library– 9.30am-12.30pm

This is a great opportunity to shape a project at the development phase. Your comments and ideas will become part of the lasting legacy of the Connected project and Lincoln Cathedral.

So come along and join in the fun!

It could only happen to a Programme Manager

‘If there’s one thing that will completely scupper the project,’ sighed my colleague, ‘it will be bats.’

These were the wise words of a veteran project manager advising me on what to expect with Lincoln Cathedral Connected. I’d heard all the horror stories: the capital programme brought to a grinding halt for months by a solitary hibernating pipistrelle; police intervention at the perceived infringement of a European Protected Species Licence; the historic property with an established bat colony battling against the damage caused by their droppings.

All in all, I was left in no doubt that bats are a programme manager’s worst nightmare.

Therefore it was with fear and trepidation that I met with Kayleigh Fawcett of Aecom on a hot and sunny August day to assess the Old Deanery’s potential as a bat habitat.  Conversion of this building into the cathedral’s new visitor facilities will impact greatly on any resident wildlife, so this initial survey aims to gauge the provision of roosting opportunities for bats in the building and the availability of foraging habitats in the surrounding landscape.

Kayleigh starts by familiarising herself with the site and the outside of the Old Deanery. She explains bats prefer a warm environment and asks whether the building is occupied. Whilst the Old Deanery is watertight and in reasonable condition, there are various nooks and crannies which could give access to the roof cavity; I can’t help but be impressed when Kayleigh explains a pipistrelle can squeeze itself through a hole the same diameter as my little finger. A more thorough scout around the premises reveals some bat droppings, which I’m reassured to learn are ‘quite old’.

Thermal Image - Cathedral

Then a thermal imaging camera is set up to check that it gives coverage of the entire building; this will be necessary during the follow up surveys. The first will be a dusk survey, with ‘watchers’ stationed at strategic positions and the thermal camera set to capture any bat action. ‘We may also have to conduct a dawn survey’ says Kayleigh with a slight frown. ‘That’s a little more taxing, as we have to be on site two hours before dawn.’

‘But that means a 3.30am start!’ I splutter. However, Kayleigh reassures me that it is actually a lot of fun and a large volume of hot chocolate is involved.

And in spite of my misgivings about the impact bats could have on the project timetable, budget and my sanity, I can’t help but feel a little excited at the prospect of seeing them flit against the backdrop of the cathedral, as the city sleeps soundly around us.

Welcome!

Through this blog we will share with you the highs, the lows, and the mild indifferences, of Lincoln Cathedral Connected.

The Connected project aims to improve the visitor experience at Lincoln Cathedral by providing new facilities, beautiful gardens and a packed programme of events and activities for all to enjoy.

In May 2015 the project was awarded a ‘Round 1 Pass’ from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has ring-fenced £12.5 million towards this £16million project.

To release this grant, the project has to go through a Development Phase. Lasting 18 months, this period (also funded by HLF), gives us the opportunity to work up our plans in detail, ensuring that HLF’s investment will reap rewards for the Cathedral.

And what is the reward?

Well for Lincoln Cathedral it is financial security.

This beautiful, intricate structure requires substantial investment to keep it in tip-top shape. Unfortunately the effects of weather, pollution and Old Father Time have taken their toll on the building. That combined with the somewhat fragile nature of Lincolnshire Limestone (imagine a building made of hard cheese – you get the idea), equates to an annual bill for routine maintenance of £1.6million a year. Every single year. Year in and year out. £1.6million.

So the genesis of Lincoln Cathedral Connected was an idea: that fantastic facilities, exhibitions, activities and events will encourage greater numbers of visitors to explore what Lincoln Cathedral has to offer them. In return, greater numbers of visitors will generate more income, which can be invested in the care of the building.

Such a simple idea, but one that’s already been two and a half years in the making. However, we’ve only really just begun on this journey (which will last until 2021!) and hope that you’ll join us in seeing the Connected project take shape.