Funding Kick-Starts Restoration Of Old St Paul’s
30 May 2008
New Funding Kick-Starts Restoration Of Old St Paul’s
A detailed programme of conservation and restoration is underway at Wellington’s Old St Paul’s Cathedral, thanks to an overwhelming show of support from new funders and loyal friends.
After years of merely being able to maintain the historic building, work has begun in earnest on long overdue restoration projects, according to Marie Gillies, Property Manager of Old St Paul’s in Wellington.
“We are extremely grateful to the select group of new funders who made this leap possible,” Ms Cox says. “Their response was immediate and enthusiastic from the moment we made our approach. It confirms for us that Old St Paul’s continues to hold a special place in the hearts of Wellingtonians from all walks of life.”
Generous grants from Lottery Grants Board, the Community Trust of Wellington and Wellington City Council have allowed restoration work to begin. The immediate programme of work includes restoration and conservation of the Carr window funded by Wellington City Council; further window work, restoration of some interior woodwork and repair of a pew front and prayer stool funded by Lottery Grants Board; and more carpet and other flooring to protect the historic floorboards funded by the Community Trust of Wellington.
Recent visitors to the cathedral have enjoyed the rare opportunity of watching a specialised window conservation technique taking place. Master craftsman Olaf Wehr-Candler of Pukerua Glass Studio has painstakingly repaired the Carr Window, a beautiful example of 19th century stained glass depicting the Saints Cecilia and Catherine.
The window was placed as a dedication to the memory of Edith Carr by her husband A. Stanley Carr. Edith’s parents lived in Hobson St, so she likely grew up in close proximity to Old St Paul’s.
The window was commissioned from the Meyer Company in Munich, Germany, a company famous for creating many of the stained glass windows in Catholic churches around the world. New Zealand examples are the altar window at Sacred Heart in Petone, and windows in St Mary of the Angels in Boulcott Street, and the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Hill Street, Thorndon.
Old St Paul’s is one of New Zealand’s most important heritage places. It serves as a venue for celebrating life events, last year hosting 90 weddings and 58 funerals. It also hosts arts and culture events, tourists and tour operators, school visits and university students - particularly those studying architecture. Tourists, some 85,000 of whom visited the Cathedral last year, regularly record that it is a highlight of their visit to Wellington. It provides Wellingtonians with lunchtime music concerts and a moment’s respite in a busy day.
Marie Gillies says the new funding finally allows the cathedral to get stuck into the bigger restoration and conservation projects waiting to be tackled.
“We can now plan ahead outside repairs to the roof and fence and further conserve the timber work inside the building. Now we can really begin to restore this jewel in Wellington’s crown.”