Exclusive access to Cathedral Library on Heritage Open Day
For the first time, Gloucester Cathedral will open its 14th century monastic library to the public during Heritage Open Day on Saturday 10 September.
Cathedral Archivist Chris Jeens has been working for the past two years on preserving, re-ordering and cataloguing the Cathedral’s Library and Archive collections, assisted by a small band of volunteers. The earliest manuscript works in the library date from the 13th century although there are some even earlier deeds and fragments. Many of the works in the collection are in a fragile condition and Chris has been monitoring the temperature and humidity levels in the Library with the aim of preventing further deterioration.
“Visitors can unintentionally do a lot of damage to old books and documents simply because they increase the humidity level so much,” Chris commented, “but we are hopeful that we can allow limited access to the public in the future. This Heritage Open Day is the first step in that process. The Library is such an absolutely wonderful space in its ambience, proportions and history. It was originally part of the Abbey and was then used as the schoolroom when the King’s School was founded in 1541. It reverted to being a library in the 19th century.”
Free Library Tours will take place at 10.00 am, 10.45 am, 11.30 am, 12.15 pm, 2.30 pm and 3.15 pm on Saturday 10 September. The tours are strictly limited to 10 people each and must be pre-booked in person from the Cathedral Gift Shop or by calling 01452 528753 from Monday 5 September only.
The Stonemason's Yard will be open to visitors on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 September between 10.00am and 4.00pm, and on Saturday 10 September between 10.00am and 4.00pm. Visitors are invited to drop in and meet Master Mason Pascal Mychalysin and his team and see their work up close.
The historic Parliament, Henry and Laud Rooms will be open to the public on Saturday 10 September from 10.00 am - 3.00 pm. Situated at the West end of the Cathedral in Church House, tradition has it that in 1378 Richard II held a Parliament on this site in the Great Hall of the old Gloucester Abbey.
Free Cathedral Tower Tours will take place at 11.30 am and 2.30 pm on Saturday 10 September. There are 269 steps to the top of the tower, and 269 back down again so anyone wishing to take part must be reasonably fit and not afraid of heights. Children must be aged 6 and over.
Also on Saturday from 10.30 am – 12.30 pm and 2.15 pm - 4.00 pm, admission to the Whispering Gallery will be free of charge. Entry to the Gallery includes the chance to experience a close up view of the Great East window of the Cathedral.
Gloucester Cathedral regrets that neither the Whispering Gallery nor the Parliament Suite is wheelchair accessible – access for both sites is via a staircase. The Whispering Gallery will be closed between 12.30 pm and 2.15 pm due to a wedding service.
Heritage Open Days 8-11 September 2011
Heritage Open Days celebrates England’s fantastic architecture and culture by offering free access to properties that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission. Every year on four days in September, buildings of every age, style and function throw open their doors, ranging from castles to factories, town halls to tithe barns, parish churches to Buddhist temples. It is a once-a-year chance to discover hidden architectural treasures and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities which bring to life local history and culture. www.heritageopendays.org.uk