CGISS Project

Cathedral Development - Pewless Nave

(An artist’s impression of the inside of St Nicholas Cathedral with all the pews removed)


“Common Ground In Sacred Space” – our development project. What is it all about?

It is a project to revive the medieval role of our unique and beautiful building as a space of prayer and inspiring worship, of activities and events and most importantly, welcome and hospitality.

It will be a place for everyone and belong to everyone – Common Ground – but also a place where people will more easily discover the full meaning of the Good news of God’s unconditional love – Sacred Space.

We will work with the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to make the most of all the history and stories about the ancient town of Newcastle encapsulated within each of the monuments, ledger stones (the slabs on the floor), and windows of this magnificent building.

To make all of this more possible, our plan is to remove the pews, install underfloor heating, renew the floor creating a stunning open and flexible space, landscape the south and east churchyards, and transform the basement beneath the cathedral hall into new visitor facilities.

How much will it cost?

The cost of the whole project will be around £6 Million, but although quite a large slice will be needed to pay for the physical changes, a significant sum will be spent on special ways of interpreting the stories that the monuments and windows tell, as well as on all sorts of activities and events for schools, families, and for visitors both from the region and further afield.

Where will the money come from?

We are working with the Heritage Lottery Fund and hope that, having submitted our Round 2 application in December 2018, we will be awarded around £4.5 million towards the costs. We need to raise the balance from our friends, benefactors, and charitable trusts.

How long will it take?

Quite a large amount of development work has to take place (for example working up architect’s plans, bringing together a business plan and an activity plan, and creating a strategy for interpretation etc.) which is happening now and will take us to the autumn of 2018. We will then submit our Round 2 application and, as long as everything is in order, the HLF will release funding to us in the spring of 2019 so that we can start on the physical work that summer. All being well this work will be finished by the summer of 2020 and from then on, the Cathedral will be buzzing with worship, events, and activities!

Who is helping us to get there?

We have appointed four new members of staff but we have also appointed a new Design Team responsible for all the building work – headed up by our architect Jane Kennedy of Purcell Architects. A company called PLB Projects has been appointed to help us bring together our Activity Plan and our Strategy for Interpretation, and Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums (TWAM) are working with us to produce a Business Plan. All this activity is overseen by the Common Ground in Sacred Space Project Board (Chair: Professor John Goddard) which is ultimately answerable to the Cathedral Chapter.

To be kept up to date with project milestones; be notified of Engagement Days, and to find out about ways in which you can support the project, for example, through match funding and chair sponsorship, as well as volunteering and research, please contact John Sadler (Interim CGISS Project Manager) or Alice Massey (CGISS Project Support Assistant) by email at: or by telephoning: 0191 232 1939.