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Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management

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The Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management will establish the York Minster Precinct as a world class campus facility for research, education and training in ancient craft skills.

It will bring benefits including continuing the craft of stonemasonry and encouraging global learning and knowledge sharing, as well as being a shining example of best practice in managing complex heritage estates.

The vision for the Centre of Excellence is a key element of the York Minster Precinct Neighbourhood Plan which sets out a policy-led approach to creating a sustainable future for the Minster and its seven hectare estate.

A planning decision is expected in late summer and, if approved, we aim to successfully deliver the project in early 2024.

Why now?

It takes a multidisciplinary team of skilled heritage craftspeople and experts in their field to maintain and care for the ongoing cycle of repair, restoration, conservation and development of York Minster, its ancient buildings and monuments.

Our Stoneyard houses the complete range of craft and trade skills that are vital to achieve this. Yet despite this, the facilities available to our skilled workforce are constrained and inadequate, set against a backdrop of declining craft skills. It is also important that we respond to innovations and modern processes such as digital technology, data scanning and Computer Aided Design (CAD).

Within this context, there is now an opportunity to ensure York Minster can always conserve and repair this unique building, and secure the long-term environmental, financial and heritage sustainability of it for future generations to enjoy as we do today.

Centre of Excellence ambition

Two sites will be developed – The Heritage Quad and The Works and Technology Hub – through the £5m fully funded project (which is being co-ordinated by the York Minster Fund).

They will provide new facilities for craftspeople, including our stonemasons, and house and deliver training in modern techniques and processes to apprentices and students, working with cutting edge digital facilities.

Existing buildings within the Precinct will be sustainably reordered, repurposed and renewed to provide new workspace and associated facilities, enable greater engagement and interaction with the public around key crafts and trades and allow improved links with education.

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The Centre of Excellence will position the Minster as leading the charge for the preservation of ancient craft skills on the international stage, facilitating knowledge sharing and exchange programmes with leading cathedrals worldwide, including Washington, Milan and Trondheim.

We plan to enable our apprentices to visit these institutions and for their apprentices to visit us, so we are continually sharing knowledge and training. We are in the process of forming a formal partnership with the University of York and are currently partnered with York College, which plans to use the new facilities for its own training purposes.

“The creation of a Centre of Excellence will not only enable the preservation and development of the ancient craft skills that have sustained the Minster over the centuries but will also secure a sustainable future for it, our visitors and the communities that we serve.”

– Alex McCallion, Director of Works and Precinct at York Minster

A world-class campus facility

A £5 million project to secure a sustainable future

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York Minster Neighbourhood Plan

Ensuring the Minster and its Precinct continue to flourish

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