Work is underway to conserve the 14th-century Cloister at Gloucester Cathedral as part of the cathedral’s 10-year development plan and includes the completion of work to restore the Cathedral’s North Nave.
Gloucester Cathedral has just announced the long-term conservation of its world-famous Cloister –better known to Harry Potter fans as Hogwarts.
The Cloister is widely regarded as one of the best and earliest examples of fan vaulting in the world making it of international architectural significance.
But to many it is famous as ‘Hogwarts’ in three of the Harry Potter movies.
A 2019 survey confirmed it is at risk and in urgent need of conservation and following generous support of £550,000 from Julia and Hans Rausing, the Cathedral’s Stonemason Team and other specialists have started a trial phase of The Cloister Project.
The project will see the Cathedral’s stonemason training and mentoring scheme further developed with the creation of 11 new apprentice roles, these new craftspeople will learn vital heritage skills to pass on to future generations.
Julia and Hans Rausing said:
“No one who walks through the Cloister at Gloucester Cathedral can fail to be struck by its overwhelming beauty. The intricate design of the stonemasonry, particularly the fan vaulted ceiling, is remarkable and its visual impact touches the many thousands of visitors to the Cathedral each year.
“We are delighted to help ensure that this magnificent feat of medieval architecture is preserved so that visitors and worshippers can continue to enjoy it for hundreds of years to come.”
The Cloister Project will start by removing the Victorian cement used to repair between the stones and replacing it with a lime-based mortar to better let the stones breathe.
Visitors to the Cathedral will be able to see this conservation work first-hand, learning about the people and the techniques used to protect the heritage buildings.
As the project evolves, there will be opportunities for the public to engage with the stonemasons through carving workshops, demonstrations and a range of other activities.
Canon Dr Andrew Braddock, Interim Dean of Gloucester, said:
“We are hugely grateful to Julia and Hans Rausing for their incredibly generous support of this project.
The Cloister, with its amazing ‘fan-vaulted’ ceiling, is one of Gloucester Cathedral’s most iconic and beautiful spaces. Sitting at the heart of the Cathedral’s buildings, it is a place of encounter, meeting, reflection and wonder, attracting thousands of visitors every year. This project will ensure the Cloister remains open for everyone and will be at the very heart of the Cathedral’s daily rhythm of life for generations to come.”
The Cloister was completed in around 1412 and formed a central part of daily life for the monks who lived there; a place where they ate, slept, studied and exercised. Today, the Cloister is every bit as central to the 21st-century Cathedral. It is a place for prayer and reflection, as well as a space for art exhibitions and community events, an iconic filming location and so much more.