Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Salisbury Cathedral - 9

On Advent Sunday this year there was a very solemn dedication of a new feature in the Cathedral...

...the new toilet block!

Salisbury Cathedral has taken a big step towards improving its facilities for visitors, congregation and all who use and work in the building. Its long-awaited project to provide new toilet facilities and storage space in the ‘Little Paradise’ site between the Chapter House and south transept is now well underway, with a purpose-designed building taking shape.

The Dean of Salisbury, the Very Revd June Osborne, said “We are keen to make the Cathedral more welcoming and comfortable for all who come here, and this resource will undoubtedly help with that. Our existing facilities really don’t do justice to the other aspects of our hospitality and a lack of space means some bulky items are stored in parts of our cloisters, detracting from that beautiful and reflective space. ‘Little Paradise’ is the ancient name for the area between the Cathedral and the Chapter House and it will, I hope, bring much comfort to those who visit it in the future! We expect the work to be completed by the end of November ready for the great Advent and Christmas services and are grateful to the Friends of Salisbury Cathedral who have funded this project to date and are committed to raising more.”

The new ‘Little Paradise’ building will replace the existing temporary and inadequate structures and enhance the appearance of the south side of the building. Its design will ensure that it harmonises with the Cathedral and has minimal impact on the fabric. It is to be constructed in stone with flint masonry with access through an existing doorway in the east cloister wall.

The need for extra toilet facilities has long been apparent and will be especially important during the busy summer months and for Salisbury Cathedral’s many services and events. Together with the restoration work on the north cloister, they continue the preparations for Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary in 2015 when the Cathedral expects to welcome many thousands of people to see the finest of the four surviving 1215 exemplars.

I have avoided the temptation of suggesting a suitable hymn for the occasion!

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