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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

My work experience with Lincoln Cathedral Connected

A post by Annderley Hill.

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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.

Unknown details of the Cathedral’s past revealed as 18th century documents are unearthed

Our team has unearthed historic documents that date back to the 18th and 19th centuries which have revealed unknown details about the Cathedral.

Pearson's letters regarding the Cathedral architecture

The documents, which include details of who lived in the Cathedral Close at the time and insightful information on the wishes of the Cathedral’s architect, give a glimpse into the past which have been captured in the pages of archival material.

Over the last 12 months, we commissioned a palaeography group to study historical leases and documents relating to the Close dating back to as early as 1851 and through this research these documents have been found.

One document, the 1851 Census, states that over 140 tenants once resided in the Close, which is the area immediately around the Cathedral and includes Castle Square, James Street and others.

In the census, details can be found on the properties and the residents who lived in the Close over 166 years ago. Residents included butchers, paupers, clergy staff, physicians, a distributer of stamps and a portrait artist. It is fascinating to hear about the range of people who once lived here and to learn more about the lifestyle they lead throughout the 18th and 19th century.

Part of the magic of the Cathedral is that there is still much we don’t know about it and when we have the opportunity to unlock some of the mystery and to add to Lincoln’s vibrant and rich heritage it’s incredibly exciting and important.

Amongst the Close documents, the Connected project also revealed letters dating from 1881 to 1894 written by the Cathedral architect at the time J.L Pearson. Mr Pearson had documented the current repair works to the Cathedral as well as some plans that were never completed, which could have dramatically changed the way we see Lincoln Cathedral today if they had been.

These letters demonstrate that the history of Lincoln Cathedral is not just the history of what is but what could have been, and allow us to hear the voices of the people directly involved in the creation and image of the Cathedral as we see it today.

 

Bringing lost Lincoln to life

Myself and the Connected team are pleased to announce that works have begun on the creation of a Google 3D virtual model which will bring to life a number of medieval buildings that once surrounded the Cathedral.   

Lincoln Cathedral Connected Old Deanery

The Old Deanery and Works Chantry, which hundreds of years ago used to stand where the existing Deanery building is today to the north of the Cathedral, are going to be recreated by using 18th and 19th century drawings and plans produced by artists and historians.

We will be revealing the interpretation artwork in June this year. The model will allow you to ‘stand’ in a virtual courtyard and see 360 degree panoramic views of the two medieval buildings and can be accessed via Google Maps on a PC, laptop, IPad or smartphones.

We have commissioned this project to celebrate the rich history of the Cathedral and its surrounds and to show our local community and visitors how the area once looked in its medieval heyday.

I would like to thank Pighill Archaeological Illustration and Lincoln-based firm Allen Archaeology Ltd who are developing the 3D modelling.

Through this artwork people will be able to explore not seen before imagery of the courtyard to the north of the Cathedral that was once packed with buildings, archways and gates.

This innovative virtual reconstruction, which will be based on real objects and artist impressions from the 19th century, as well as documentary evidence and archaeological discoveries we have made over the years, is just one of the many projects we are working on which aims to engage the local people and visitors from further afield in the vibrant history of this wonderful building.

Nothing like this has been done in the Cathedral Close before and we’re very excited for the interpretation to be revealed this summer.

 

Restoration works have started on the Cathedral

The first phase in a long line of restoration and renovation works to the Cathedral has begun, as we aim to radically improve the Cathedral’s setting and visitor experience by offering more engaging and dynamic spaces.

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The first phase of restoration works include repair work to the north Cloister wall and internationally important Romanesque Frieze.

For those who have been inside the Cathedral, the north Cloister wall forms the outer part of the Wren Library and is undergoing substantial piecing in of new stone and the removal of iron ties to the north and west wall. The Cloister wall is due for completion in September this year.

In July of this year, we will also begin work on the south Romanesque Frieze. The Frieze has been covered since the late 1980s for preservation due to the disintegration of the attached gothic sculptures. We are using the funding from our project so careful conservation work of the now delicate carvings can begin, which date back from approximately 1123-1148.

Following our successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund, I am really excited to finally see the restoration works our Cathedral so desperately needs starting to take place. The restoration of the Cloister wall and the Romanesque Frieze is just the beginning of five years of important works to the Cathedral.

Replicas of the carvings on the south Romanesque Frieze, which show biblical scenes including Daniel in the lions’ den and Noah building of the Ark will be created and put on display in the new visitor centre, which is being built as part of our Connected project and will be complete in 2020.