Over the coming months there will be construction work taking place in the Booth Porch as we install internal sliding glass doors. We are forming a draught lobby with automated sliding doors to combat the fierce winds with which you will be familiar on the north side of the cathedral. By providing a glass screen with doors at the northern end of the inner porch we will effectively be providing an outer air lock to the cathedral. This in turn will help reduce heat loss from the core of the cathedral and help our rather inefficient Gurney stoves during the colder months.

The existing blue gates will not be incorporated into the scheme. However, there are plans to relocate these when funds permit to the Canons’ Garden adjacent to College Hall on the southern side of College Cloisters. You will notice that there are gates of a very similar design in the three doorways at the west end of the cathedral.

The impressive oak vestibule erected in 1925 is also being upgraded and provided with automated doors and increased areas of glazing. This will give easier access and better visibility into and out of the vestibule. Its main oak doors will also be automated so that unimpeded access for everyone can be easily achieved. The main cathedral doors can then be kept fully open during the day, providing a much brighter and more welcoming entrance into the cathedral.

Why are these works happening?
Alongside making the cathedral more energy efficient, there will hopefully be a benefit to our visitors. It has become clear that many visitors are put off, intimidated or confused by our main entrance, which can seem dark and closed. We always receive such wonderful feedback when we are able to open the main doors and internal vestibule, but with our local climate, the days that we are able to do that are far and few between. With the current set up of the porch, people are often concerned that something is happening inside the cathedral, which they might interrupt, or that we are closed because they can’t see inside the building. Some visitors also struggle to find the exit! How sad that we could be losing potential visitors and new individuals to our community before they’ve even had a chance to walk through the door!

As we aim to introduce more and more people to Hereford Cathedral we need to ensure that people feel the warmth of our welcome from the minute they approach the building. An updated entranceway with better lighting and more glass panelling to help people view the space from outside will help us to really open the doors to Hereford Cathedral and encourage people inside.

When & Where?
The works will be taking place in the Booth Porch area from the middle of June until the end of November. To help keep our visitors and worshippers safe, we will redirect them to enter the cathedral through the North West door at the West (Broad Street) end.

• The Welcome Desk will be temporarily relocated to this area (further guidance will be provided to all Welcomers)

• The Consistory Court will be temporarily relocated to the North East Transept, and the chairs and other items behind it will be stored elsewhere in the cathedral

• Hoardings will be in place outside the Booth Porch explaining the works and directing people to the West End of the cathedral and the Lady Arbour for the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library

During the project there will be scheduled periods of several weeks where not much activity will take place on site as we await the delivery of the new doors and glazing once the supporting fixtures and fittings are installed within the porch. During this time, we will be able to use the North Door for visitor access as usual, and the Welcome Desk will return to its normal location as required, before returning temporarily to the North West Door of the cathedral for completion of the project.

We will be providing interpretation explaining the works, both outside and inside the building, to help staff and volunteers talk about the project with visitors.

Who is leading on this project?
The main contractor on the project will be local contractors C J Bayliss who are a family run firm located in the North of Hereford. Russell Davies, who has worked on a number of other projects at the cathedral including the Close Project completed in 2011, will be acting as contracts manager and will be liaising directly with Alan Cartwright our Head of Estates and Robert Kilgour, Cathedral Architect.

How is it being funded?
This project has been generously supported in memory of Jeremy and Anne Clay who were both great supporters of the Cathedral during their lifetimes.

We will be providing regular updates on the project via our website, social media and pew sheet over the coming months. If you have any further questions about this project, please contact Chris Milton, Chief Operating Officer & Chapter Clerk, via [email protected] or call 01432 374 201.