£625,000 upgrade for Great Hall
3:12pm Thu Apr 10, 2014
Major refurbishment work costing £625,000 is under way at the Grade I Listed Great Hall building in the grounds of Southwell Minster.
The work is part of the £1.26m Heritage Lottery funded project to open up the Archbishop of York’s Palace to the public.

The project co-ordinator, Mr Charlie Leggatt, said the work would ensure much improved facilities in the Great Hall. The aim is to make the building more modern and accessible while maintaining its key features and character.

“The space had become run-down and rather tired,” said Mr Leggatt.

He said there would be new learning areas, a new music library, rehearsal space, a proper kitchen, new lavatories and new changing areas for the choir. An on-site studio flat is being created for the annual organ scholar.

Other improvements include the installation of a lift and better access for the disabled.

Mr Leggatt said it was hoped the work would be completed by the summer.

The contract has been awarded by Southwell Cathedral Chapter to North Midland Construction plc.

It is the third contract to be awarded to them in the Southwell and Nottingham Diocese. The company was also involved in the completion of Jubilee House, the new headquarters of the diocese, and the conversion of its old premises, Dunham House.

Estimating manager Mr Dave Blout said they were delighted to be working on another project in Southwell.

“We are pleased to be handling the refurbishment of such a prestigious building in order to provide a sympathetic yet relevant and accessible facility for users,” he said.

The Lottery money has also been used for work to stablise the fabric of the palace ruins which has now been completed.

A new community open space, an education garden, is being created featuring the history of horticulture.

An open day will be held at the garden on April 26, 10am to 4pm, for people to see the project and get involved.

The palace was the final home of Cardinal Wolsey who fell from favour with Henry VIII. It was also where the surrender of King Charles I was organised by his Scottish captors.

It is expected that once the project is completed more than 1.5m visitors will be attracted to Southwell over a ten-year period.

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