Mather & Co to design exhibition spaces for trio of UK cathedrals

The consultancy has been commissioned to work on separate exhibition spaces focusing on the historical interpretation of Lincoln, St Albans and the Cathedral Church of St Marie in Sheffield, which have all received Heritage Lottery funding.

Mather & Co will design a new visitor and welcome centre for Lincoln Cathedral, featuring an exhibition space that will look to showcase its history to a broader range of visitors.

The £16 million renovation and exhibition design project will go ahead after Mather & Co helped the cathedral to secure its £11.4 million second round Heritage Lottery funding earlier this year.

The centre will be situated in the Deanery next to the cathedral, alongside a new building that will directly connect the two buildings.

Mather & Co interpretive designer Sammy Bentley says the consultancy is looking to appeal to “as broad an audience as possible” with the design of the exhibition space, introducing features such as a “discovery zone” where children will be able to build their own gothic arches and stained glass windows.

“Living church”

Exhibits will focus on the history of Lincoln Cathedral from its origins during the Anglo-Saxon period, but will also highlight its role as a “living church” today and future plans, with areas for the Cathedral’s staff including stonemasons to speak about their work to visitors.

The centre will also feature an education suite, café, shop, a fully accessible changing places room and community spaces.

Meanwhile experts will carry out restoration and conservation of the Romanesque Frieze, Gallery of Kings and Exchequergate Arch. A new floodlighting scheme will be introduced to the outside of the cathedral.

Mather & Co has also been commissioned to design interiors and exhibition spaces for two other cathedrals, St Albans and Cathedral Church of St Marie in Sheffield.

St Albans

The St Albans Cathedral project, worth £6.9 million, will see Mather & Co design a new entrance and reception area within the cathedral.

A welcome centre and exhibition space within the new area will encourage visitors to explore the building using multisensory and tactile exhibits that list the top ten highlights of things to see there.

Medieval paintings will be digitally enhanced through mapped projection, and various trails and exhibits will be introduced in the cathedral grounds since “a lot of the cathedral’s features are seen better from the outside”, says Bentley.

Cathedral Church of St Marie

Finally, the consultancy will work with the Cathedral Church of St Marie to design several mainly text-based display units across the cathedral floor, highlighting the architecture and history of the building, as well as its recent restoration.

Speaking about the three cathedrals, Mather & Co chief executive Chris Mather, says: “They all share an enormous history – some going back over 1000 years, and the challenges of attracting new audiences to ensure their futures while working within the boundaries of listed buildings. We know those challenges well and look forward to them.”

Mather & Co previously completed the interpretation design of York Minster’s Undercroft, Treasury and Crypt areas as part of a new visitor attraction in 2013.

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