CGISS Project

Common Ground in Sacred Space


Cathedral Development - Pewless Nave

An artists impression of how Newcastle Cathedral will look with the pews removed


What is our Cathedral development project all about?

Our Cathedral development project, Common Ground in Sacred Space, aims to revive the medieval role of our unique and beautiful building. The Cathedral will be 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 are working with the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to make the most of all the history and stories about the ancient town of Newcastle that the Cathedral encapsulates. This includes the stories behind the monuments, ledger stones (the slabs on the floor), and windows of this magnificent building. To make all of this possible, there are plans to:

  • remove the pews;
  • install underfloor heating;
  • renew the floor, creating a stunning open and flexible space;
  • landscape the south and east churchyards;
  • transform the basement beneath the cathedral hall into new visitor facilities.

How much will it cost?

The whole Cathedral development project will cost around £6 million. A large slice of this will pay for the physical changes, but a significant sum will go towards creating special ways of interpreting the Cathedral’s unique stories. There are also plans for new 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?

There is a lot of work to do to develop the project. Below is the proposed timeline as it currently stands (as of December 2017):

Throughout 2018 Laying the groundwork for the project:

  • developing the architect’s plans,
  • compiling a business plan and activity plan,
  • creating a strategy for interpretation
End of 2018
  • Submit HLF Round 2 application
Spring 2019
  • If our application is successful, HLF will release the funding to us
Late summer 2019
  • Physical work begins
Spring 2021
  • Physical work finishes
Easter 2021
  • Launch of the redeveloped Cathedral!

From here on, the Cathedral will be a buzzing, dynamic hub of worship, events and activities!


Who is helping us to get there?

We have appointed four new members of staff, plus a new Design Team, responsible for all the building work. Jane Kennedy of Purcell Architects is leading the team. 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.

The project is also part of a wider programme to regenerate the ‘Old Newcastle’ quarter. So we are also liaising with other organisations in this area to ensure the Cathedral development work ties in harmoniously with the broader activities happening around us.

Where can I find out more?

To stay up to date with project milestones, hear about our Engagement Days, and find out how you can support the project, for example, through match funding and chair sponsorship, volunteering or research, please contact John Sadler (Interim CGISS Project Manager) or Alice Massey (CGISS Project Support Assistant) on or 0191 232 1939.