Renewal, restoration and rejuvenation – York Minster 30 years on from the South Transept Fire

Evensong at York Minster today (Wednesday 9 July), will include prayers, readings and reflections on the devastating fire that swept through the roof of the South Transept at 2am on 9 July 1984.

The service will be led by the Dean of York, the Reverend Vivienne Faull and will include a procession from the Quire to the South Transept where the Dean will give thanks for the deliverance of the Minster and highlight the good that came out of the disaster.

On that night 30 years ago, teams of staff, firefighters and volunteers risked their own safety to salvage artefacts as flaming debris and ash from the South Transept roof rained down into the Minster. John David, Master Mason at York Minster, is one of a number of staff still working at the Minster who braved the flames and smoke to help with the salvage effort. He will give a reading at the Evensong service.

Commenting on the anniversary and the service, Rev Faull said:

“Whilst the 1984 fire was a serious and significant moment, the ongoing story of York Minster is one of world class restoration, conservation, design and innovation to ensure that the fabric and beauty of the building is protected for the community of York and for future generations.”

York Minster Revealed is one of the major conservation projects currently underway at the Minster. The £20 million project (including a £10.5 million grant from the Heritage Lottery fund) will result in the restoration of the Great East Window - the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the UK. Stonework damaged by centuries of exposure to the elements is being replaced as part of this project.

Creative, sympathetic and innovative design has left a contemporary mark on the 2000-year-old building. Built in 2012, the Orb, a shining elliptical exhibition space inside the Minster gives visitors the chance to experience some of the Minster’s stunning medieval stained glass at close quarters whilst the design and installation of the Piazza (2012-2013), created a new public space on the south side of the Minster. The design and creativity of these projects was recognised at the York Design Awards 2014 sharing the top spot in the category Landscape/The Public Realm.

The Evensong service will provide a moment of reflection on the fire but will also pay tribute to those who reclaimed the building from the disaster and the ongoing work to conserve and sustain York Minster into the future.

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Notes for Editors

About York Minster Revealed

The York Minster Revealed project is a five-year project scheduled for completion in spring 2016. It is the largest restoration and conservation project of its kind in Europe. The cost of the whole York Minster Revealed Project is £20 million, of which £10.5m has been generously supported with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The remainder of the fund has been raised by York Minster.

State-of-the-art multi-media galleries, new displays of historic collections and interactive interpretations now create new learning opportunities for all ages. Also improved access to the South Transept, Undercroft, Treasury and Crypt have totally transformed the experience of visiting York Minster.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage.  HLF has supported almost 35,000 projects with more than £5.3bn across the UK.  For more information, please contact Katie Owen, HLF press office, on tel: 020 7591 6036/07973 613820.