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World News

York Minster gets go-ahead to establish Centre of Excellence for ancient craft skills

by Donna Birrell


Plans for York Minster to establish a world class Centre of Excellence for research, education and training in ancient craft skills have been approved by City of York Council.

The Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management will be a first-of-its-kind project encouraging learning and knowledge sharing on an international scale.

It will be the largest planned programme of works at the Minster and its surrounding Precinct since the Victorian era.

The plans include a Heritage Quad with facilities for scaffolders and gardeners plus residential accommodation for the Minster’s first and second-year apprentices, as well as for international exchange visitors and trainees.

A Works and Technology Hub will be created on the site of the current stone-yard and will allow apprentices to learn cutting-edge digital techniques such as modern saw technology, data scanning and computer aided design.

The plans will also enable the Minster to offer international exchange programmes with cathedrals and universities as far afield as Milan, Washington and Singapore to enable development of these skills.

Alex McCallion, Director of Works and Precinct at York Minster, said:

“We are delighted that our pioneering plans for preserving the ancient craft skills necessary to secure the future of the Minster have received approval from City of York Council. These skills have long been the lifeblood to the fabric of York Minster and the creation of the Centre of Excellence will enable us to continue to develop and pass down these skills with the help of modern digital technology.

“We thank City of York Council for recognising the importance of the Centre of Excellence, the establishment of which will be crucial in allowing us to safeguard the Minster’s long-term environmental, financial and heritage sustainability for future generations to enjoy as we do today. 

“This is also a major project for the city and will continue to raise our profile not only as a leading international city for heritage and education, but also a city that is forward looking.”    

The £5m fully funded project is being co-ordinated by the York Minster Fund, and is expected to be delivered in early 2024.

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